Virginia’s Ultrasound Bill; Governor Bob McDonnell’s Statement

Governor Bob McDonnell released this statement today regarding SB484. In this release Governor Mcdonnell states, (emphasis added);

“I am pro-life. I believe deeply in the sanctity of innocent human life and believe governments have a duty to protect human life. The more our society embraces a culture of life for all people, the better country we will have. Over the course of my 20-year career in elected office, I have been glad to play a leading role in putting in place common-sense policies that protect and defend innocent human life in the Commonwealth. One of those bills was Virginia’s informed consent statute, of which I was the chief patron in the House of Delegates, finally seeing its passage in 2001. This session, the General Assembly is now considering amending this informed consent statute to include a requirement that any woman seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound in order to establish the gestational age for appropriate medical purposes, and to offer a woman the opportunity to voluntarily review that ultrasound prior to giving her legal informed consent to abortion.

He ends the statement with;

“I have requested other amendments that help clarify the purposes of the bill and reflect a better understanding of prevailing medical practices. It is my hope that the members of the General Assembly will act favorably upon these recommendations from our office. We will await their action prior to making any further comments on this matter.”

This issue has generated static all over the country, including late night comedy TV. Frantic claims from Democrats, from those who should know better, or at least have better research departments, such as Saturday Night Live to Comedy Central, to those who know better but assume you do not such as Planned Parenthood. All claiming that Virginia is codifying into law the “rape” of women seeking an abortion. Their basis for this claim is that a first trimester ultrasound [sonogram] requires a “trans-vaginal” probe. (Sorry Dad, there ain’t no polite way to put it.)

What each of these has failed to do is truthfully explain the current recommendations from NAF, (National Abortion Federation). Their 2012 clinical policy guidelines state clearly that, in the first trimester, a sonogram is required to determine the gestational age of the little guy in the uterus.

Policy Statement: Proper use of ultrasound can inform clinical decision-making and enhance the safety and efficacy of abortion care.
Standard 1: Staff members who perform ultrasound exams and clinicians who interpret those exams must either show documentation that they have completed a program of training or must complete such a program developed by the facility. Training must include a period of direct supervision. Documentation of this training must be maintained. Following initial training, a system for evaluation of ongoing proficiency must be in place and documented.

Option 1.01: The Ultrasound Training in Abortion Care CD-ROM developed by ARMS, NAF, and CAPS is a good resource for training and may be utilized as part of a training program.

Standard 2: A system of clinical privileging must be in place for staff members who perform ultrasound exams and clinicians who interpret those exams. This system must include periodic review and renewal of these privileges.

Standard 3: Patients must be informed of the purpose and limitations of the ultrasound exam in the abortion care setting.

Option 3.01: This information may be provided in writing and the patient may be asked to sign a form acknowledging receipt of this information.

Standard 4: The findings of all ultrasound exams and the interpretation of those findings must be documented in the medical record. Photos or another method of storing the ultrasound images must be included as part of the documentation. This documentation must also include the name(s) of the staff members who performed and interpreted the exam.

Recommendation 4.1: A standard form for documenting findings and interpretation should be used.

Standard 5: In the first trimester, the ultrasound exam must include the following:
a. a full scan of the uterus in both the transverse and longitudinal planes;
b. measurements to document gestational age;
c. views to document the location of the pregnancy;
d. evaluation of fetal number; and
e. evaluation of the presence or absence of fetal cardiac activity.

5.1: When clinically indicated, evaluation of other pelvic structures (i.e., adnexal structures and the cul de sac) should be performed and documented.

Recommendation 5.2: Technology permitting both abdominal and transvaginal scanning should be available.

Standard 6: In the second trimester, the ultrasound exam must include the following:
a. fetal measurements to document gestational age;
b. views to document intrauterine location of the pregnancy;
c. evaluation of fetal number;
d. evaluation of the presence or absence of fetal cardiac activity; and
e. placental localization.

Recommendation 6.1: When placenta previa is suspected in a patient with a prior uterine scar, or when other placental abnormality is suspected, a referral for further diagnostic imaging should be made.

Standard 7: A procedure must be in place for further evaluation or referral of a patient in whom an intrauterine pregnancy has not been definitively identified or for whom an initial finding on the ultrasound may affect abortion management or future patient care.

Standard 8: Real-time ultrasound scanners must be used. Ultrasound equipment must be properly calibrated and maintained.

Standard 9: Ultrasound transducers must be disinfected between patients according to applicable infection control standards.

4 Adequate precautions must be taken to
protect both staff members and patients from the potential toxicity of chemical

To its credit Planned Parenthood follows these guidelines explicitly. They do not, however extend to the patient the courtesy of observing the results of this procedure.

SB484 merely requires that ALL abortion clinics follow these NAF abortion guidelines, and requires that a patient who desires to do so be allowed to view the result.

I’m disappointed in Governor McDonnell for caving to an obvious smear campaign. But I applaud him for keeping Virginia out of such an obnoxious propaganda battle.

Cross posted at

  • Well written…

  • ToR

    Congratulations, the Republicans have wasted the GA session, made Virginia look stupid, and are now in full retreat with their tails between their legs. Now, can we get back to the economy.

  • ToR are you proud to be an idiot?

  • ToR. Sure. We can get back to the economy whenever the Democratic Senators agree to stop being sophomoric.

  • Just when do we expect them to run for the border?

  • Please keep your comments on subject, ToR. Or expect to be ruthlessly ridiculed.

  • I’m sorry. Thank you http://culpeperrepublican/. I do not suffer fools easily.

  • MD Russ


    Didn’t your mother teach you that it is rude to make fun of the drooling window lickers with the coke-bottle-bottom glasses on the short bus?

  • MD Russ. ? Are you an idiot or do you want me to believe you to be?

  • C’mon guys. Respond to the facts above. I’m willing to defend any of them. Stupid stuff gets a stupid response.

  • Alton…I think MD’s supporting your comments and ridiculing ToR.

  • aznew

    “Forget it. He’s rolling.”

  • JayD

    JR, odd, but BD doesn’t have a history of deleting comments just because they don’t agree w/ guest blogger’s opinion. The following comments were here earlier and now gone, replaced by Alton’s hissy fit. I have a screen shot also if you need it. Should I be crying foul? 🙂

    –Nathan Miller February 22, 2012 15:09 pm
    Guess you can assign McDonnell his 0% rating on your chart.

    ¬Mike Barrett February 22, 2012 15:12 pm
    So Governor, did it ever occur to you that if you have to offer such amendments, that the bill is simply not required?

    –duh February 22, 2012 15:29 pm
    I’ll be awaiting McDonnell’s proposals to remove vision testing at the DMV and any drug testing for state government employment as well.
    We wouldn’t want the state requiring any medical procedures.
    Does this mean that DUI testing should now be removed as well? After all, at the point of contact with the police, you haven’t actually been charged with anything yet.
    We wouldn’t want the state requiring any medical procedures.

    –Eric the 1/2 troll February 22, 2012 16:08 pm
    “No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.”
    So what he is saying is as long as a procedure is not “invasive” it is perfectly alright for the state to direct them to undergo it WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT, as a precondition to another medical procedure. How is THAT a conservative position?

    –Susan G February 22, 2012 16:10 pm
    A stupid bill from the start and even still with the governor’s personal escape hatch.

    –JayD February 22, 2012 16:48 pm
    Please keep sending in those pro-life campaign checks cause really, guys, you know I’m on your side.
    Yours truly,
    Pro-life Bob
    –MD Russ February 22, 2012 17:09 pm
    And so we have come full circle. First, the pro-lifers propose a law requiring a medically unnecessary screening procedure because they hope that it will discourage abortions. The pro-choicers counter that it is an unwarranted intrusion on a woman, similar to rape. The pro-lifers counter that they are not seeking to discourage abortion but only concerned with protecting the health of the woman from butcher abortionists. Governor Bob, seeing absolutely no upside to this argument, throws the pro-lifers overboard but tosses them life rings to use until he can safely circle back around.
    Meanwhile we have been treated to graphic descriptions of vaginally inserted probes, cutting and scraping of the uterus, and other images that would be banned from an R-rated slasher movie. And all this bickering, with the exception of a few Mike Barrett types, is among Republicans. Who says that conservatives don’t have a sense of humor?

    –ToR February 22, 2012 17:57 pm
    Interpretation: “I may be pro life, but first and foremost, I’m a politician and I’d like to run for higher office one day.”

  • JayD

    Uh oh … my bad. Two different posts. SINCERE apologies to Alton and BD. Feel free to dump my last post. Sorry!

  • ToR

    Oh, I can take the ridicule but damn Alton you’re the idiot. We can call it Alton’s folly.

    I do love the personal attacks Alton, it must be your good Christian upbringing. Calm down, count to ten, take it easy, and hold off the Enter key.

    But maybe you could tell me how each of my three points were wrong:
    1. wasted GA time
    2. made VA look stupid
    3. retreated from the bill

  • 1) Most of the GA has been spent on economic and job creating legislation. I think the total percentage of social bills is something like 3%
    2) If having Rachel Maddow, SNL, and PMSNBC upset with us is considered making Virginia “look stupid”, it means we’re doing something right
    3) Damn skippy. And it is very discouraging. McDonnell is looking national – which is unfortunate as it was Allen’s undoing in 2006. Don’t forget to dance with the ones that brung ya. McDonnell has been diminished in my eyes because of this.

  • Susan G

    I made the same mistake,JayD.
    I do give Bearing Drift props for allowing discussion without resorting to that troll nonsense.

  • Stand down JR. I can deal with this. JD I am not a guest blogger. I stand by my post. You can call this a “hissy fit” if you want. But you can’t refute anything I posted. If you have a real problem with my post, please explain it in a real, English manner. We will then exchange in a real discussion.

  • ToR I’m an idiot? Care to tell me why? What have I posted that marks me as such?

  • Personal attacks? Document please.

  • OK guys. You’ve called me an idiot. And worse. Tell me where I’m wrong and I’ll engage in a real debate. If you can’t, or won’t, shut up.

  • I’m not a guest blogger. Get used to it. I’m not a passe poster either.

  • ToR

    Actually Alton,

    You called me an idiot and you called MD Russ an idiot and I’m not really sure why. No one was throwing names around until you’re got worked up.

    I’m not really sure how my comments were off topic, even if you do disagree with them.

    Bob for Jobs and the GA wasted time on this bill. We did look stupid in the eyes of the nation (other than the far right). The Governor and the GA has backed down, it is my understanding that the bill, in any form, is essentially dead.

    It might get a new life, but I think it was aborted by the Republicans in Richmond.

    But to your last question: no where does Planned Parenthood or any other facility that performs abortions require a trans-vaginal ultrasound or whatever they’re calling this.

  • JayD

    Alton, I say again, my mistake and my apologies. I came back onto BD after dinner to the wrong thread and mistakenly concluded you deleted posts unfavorable to the Gov. I find only one BD article linked to your name (this one) and concluded you were a guest, rather than a regular. Looks like I was mistaken twice.

    To your topic … the ultrasound bill hit almost simultaneously w/ Bob Marshall’s bill (HB1). You guys are locked into defending the specifics of the procedure without understanding the bigger picture. When paired w/ a trigger bill, public perception (and perception is truth) is:

    SB484 COMBINED w/ HB1 attacks Roe and becomes yet another intrusion into matters most of us believe are either private or should remain between a woman and her doctor.

    Again, VERY sloppy work in Richmond and Bob can kiss any shot he might have had at VEEP goodbye.

    Ahhh, here comes the birth control question in the Arizona debate. HA! Thank you Ron Paul for explaining to the nation (and Mr. smartest-guy-on-the-platform Newt) that the ‘morning after’ pill is not an abortion pill ~ it’s a birth control pill AND it’s not the government’s role to get involved in our personal lives.

  • My debut here at Bearing Drift was rather explosive in the comment section. I want to assure my colleagues here I did not mean to embarrass them. I just want everyone to know that when I write a serious piece I do it to present FACTS. Not talking points. Not party spin. Just facts.

  • Natedogg614

    “If having Rachel Maddow, SNL, and PMSNBC upset with us is considered making Virginia “look stupid”, it means we’re doing something right”

    Hear, hear!

  • This is an entirely transparent attempt by the Governor to secure a place on the ’12 presidential ticket. After all, the last thing Republicans need to appeal to those pesky (i.e. ideology-free) independents is an extremist who places the onerous condition of allowing people to actually see what they are about to kill.

    When will the most visible faces of the pro-life party be willing to defend their principles to the same degree as the anti-life party?

  • TADA! Tim wins a cigar. Thank you sir.

    Its simple. Lets end public funding for Planned Parenthood. If women want to screw around they can face the consequences at their own expense. I won’t ask them to pay for my mistakes.. and Obama won’t punish them with a baby.. oh, wait.

  • Diane

    In other words, the outcry from the left (which was generated via massive emails and even Comedy Central) is a joke because these women who are going to get an abortion will be getting the very ultrasound they screamed was akin to a forced rape…How ironic

  • Scott S


    In the immediate future you will also receive government mandated medical procedures that are not of your choosing. You are happy with that?

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