Virginia's Senate has passed legislation that would require women seeking abortions to undergo noninvasive ultrasounds, eliminating a stipulation that the exams be conducted through a vaginal procedure that had drawn the scorn of commentators and comedians.
The state Senate split 21-19 mostly along party lines in approving the amended measure, which was the last opportunity for Democrats in the chamber to derail the contentious proposal.
The bill returns to Virginia's House for expected concurrence on an amendment added last week that eliminated mandatory invasive vaginal ultrasounds. Another amendment since added would exempt victims of rape and incest who reported the crimes to police.
Supporters said requiring ultrasounds would ensure women were fully informed before deciding to abort a fetus. Critics said external, abdominal ultrasounds early in pregnancy would be meaningless.
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