Protests are still waging in Virginia as the state legislature is still debating whether or not it will pass a controversial new abortion law that would require women to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound before undergoing the procedure.

While the Republican-led legislature argues they are aiming to lower the abortion rate by arming women with “the facts,” opponents of the bill say it is tantamount to state-sponsored sexual assault.

The divide stems from a provision in the bill that would require women to undergo a medically unnecessary trans-vaginal ultrasound before she is able to have an abortion within the first trimester (when over 90% of abortions take place).

Unlike other ultrasounds which are non-invasive, a trans-vaginal ultrasound involves a probe being inserted into a woman’s vagina. Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to amend the bill to require a woman’s consent to the invasive procedure before it is done, but the amendment was defeated by the Republican-controlled legislature.

Women’s groups are outraged over the requirement, and claim it violates Virginia’s object sexual penetration statute, which says that inserting an object into someone against their will, unless medically necessary, is a crime. Moreover, insurance companies are not likely to cover a medically unnecessary procedure, which would shift the cost of the trans-vaginal ultrasound to the women seeking an abortion.

Virginia’s Governor Robert McDonnell initially said that he’d sign the bill once it passed the legislature, but after over 1200 men and women engaged in a silent protest over the proposed law, he is now changing his tune. According to Gov. McDonnell’s office, he will now “review” the bill if it is passed.

This is just one of two controversial abortion laws proposed in Virginia. They are also considering a “personhood amendment” which would grant constitutional rights to embryos at conception, and effectively end access to abortion procedures in the state.

Virginia’s tough anti-abortion stance is just another in a long list of measures aiming to limit women’s access to reproductive rights. From defunding Planned Parenthood to the current debating surrounding access to birth control, it seems like many want to drag us back to the bad old days when women could not choose what to do with our bodies.

What do you think? Is Virginia’s proposed law akin to sexual assault? 

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  • Apifani

    First I want to say that…I believe in Freedom of choice, but calling this a crime? Violation? Rape? Seriously? I’m sorry, but thats rediculous. I think its actually a great idea. Women have become so use to Abortion just being a simple prcedure…go in, have it done, go home its over, but what they fail to realize is that you are taking a chance with your life. Not every woman walks out of that clinic without complications. Complications that could have been prevented if more precautions where in place. They want people to respect the freedom of choice, but dont want to respect this? There are people out there who feel abortion is a crime, a violation, murder. Inserting an object into a womans vagina without her consent is wrong? Well, some could say where were the babys rights?The baby didnt have a say when the pregnant mother chose to remove it from her womb and stop its life. So why should a woman have a right to choose just how this procedure takes place? SMH this one really got to me. Like I said, I believe in freedom of choice, but when you want to talk about how wrong this new law is, how much of a violation it is to your rights as a woman, well I will then say, where were the rights of the unborn child? HYPOCRISY!

    • Enna

      I’m sorry, but to me it sounds as though you are advocating that doctors, people who are supposed to help us and keep us safe, perform a medically unnecessary and rather invasive procedure before allowing women to terminate a pregnancy. You raised concerns about about the safety of abortions, and I agree in that women should understand exactly what they are going to do and the potential risks. But understanding does not require women to stick objects inside their bodies to do so. Complications can happen with many common procedures, and that is why we have medical consent forms.

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  • Louantha Kerr

    This is old news but I just came across it. What is SO hypocritical and dishonest is that the so called invasive – state rape – attack of women’s rights TRANSVAGINAL ultrasound has been and continues to be standard medical protocol in abortion facilities throughout Virginia. This is necessary in the earlier stages of pregnancy to get a clear enough image so fetal age, multiple fetuses, ectopic pregnancy, etc. can be determined. Call any Planned Parenthood to verify!