Mandatory Ultrasound Prior to Abortion

HB 261 (Cole); HB 462 (Byron); SB 279 (Smith); SB 484 (Vogel)

Committee: House Courts of Justice; Senate Education and Health

ACLU Position: Opposes

Summary: All these bills amend the informed consent law to require a woman to have an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion.  HB 261 extends the waiting period before obtaining an abortion from 24 hours to 48 hours.  HB 462 and SB 484 require that a woman be offered an opportunity to view an image of the fetus and hear the fetal heartbeat.    SB 279 requires that a woman be offered the option to view an image of the fetus.

Comment: The ACLU opposes these bills because they require women to undergo a medically unnecessary procedure that adds to healthcare costs.  HB 261 additionally places an undue burden on women seeking an abortion.

Status: HB 261 incorporated into HB 462, which reported with substitute from House Courts of Justice committee (14-Y, 3-N) on Feb. 10.  HB 462 passed the House (63-Y, 36-N) on Feb. 14.  HB 462 amended and reported from Senate Education and Health (8-Y, 7-N) on Feb. 23.  HB 462 passed the Senate (21-Y, 19-N) with substitute and amendment on Feb. 28.  House agrees to Senate substitute with amendment (61-Y, 35-N) on Mar. 1.  Signed by Governor Bob McDonnell on Mar. 7.

SB 279 incorporated into SB 484, which reported with substitute from Senate Education and Health (8-Y, 7-N) on Jan. 26 and passed the Senate (21-Y, 18-N) on Feb. 1. SB 484 reported from House Courts of Justice (14-Y, 7-N) on Feb. 15.  SB 484 amended to require consent for transvaginal ultrasounds and passed the House (65-Y, 32-N, 1-A) on Feb. 22.  SB 484 killed in Senate (31-Y, 2-N) on Feb. 24.