The Virginia state Senate approved a watered-down version of a bill that would require women to get an ultrasound before having an abortion.
Tuesday’s vote came after a national outcry over a provision in the original bill that would have required that women interested in an abortion get a transvaginal ultrasound if an abdominal ultrasound couldn’t present the clearest picture of an embryo or fetus, Reuters reported. At nine weeks gestation, a fetus is about 0.9 inches (2.3 cm) long, so abdominal “jelly on the belly” ultrasounds often can’t pick up clear images or heartbeats. According to the non-profit Guttmacher Institute, 88 percent of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, with 62 percent occurring before nine weeks.
The watered-down bill still requires women to get an abdominal ultrasound before an abortion, and doctors would be required to offer an additional transvaginal ultrasound if the first images were unclear. However, women will not have to receive the more invasive procedure. The bill includes an exemption for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest that has been reported to law enforcement.
Even “watered-down” and less invasive, it’s still a pretty insulting bill.