News Abortion

Virginia Amendment to Require Insurance Companies to Cover Forced Ultrasounds Fails

Robin Marty

A Virginia proposal would have mandated that insurance companies pay for forced ultrasounds now required by law.

Despite huge blowback from residents, the state of Virginia ended up passing a law that would require all women seeking an abortion to have a mandatory ultrasound prior to termination. Besides being medically unnecessary and adding both a longer wait and a shame factor to getting an abortion, the cost of the additional procedure adds expense as well.

In essence, one could call it an abortion fee.

But Democrats in the Virginia legislature tried to at least counteract the financially-punitive aspect of the new law by requiring that insurance companies cover the expense of the ultrasound. According to the Washington Post, Democrats added an amendment to the state budget that would force insurance companies to pay for any ultrasounds required before an abortion. They also proposed the state be required to pay the ultrasound costs for uninsured women.

In order to try and woo Republicans into agreement, the amendment prevented the coverage for ultrasounds performed at a Planned Parenthood clinic.  But even with that exception, there was probably little chance that the state GOP, or their rabid anti-choice backers, were going to allow the amendment to pass.  After all, if state-funded health services paid to Planned Parenthood are “fungible” enough to constitute “tax payer funded abortion” to them, how can a state-funded ultrasound not be, too?

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As expected, the amendment failed.  Even worse, it failed 20-19.  One anti-choice Democratic lawmaker voted against it. And the amendment’s own sponsor, a Republican woman, in the end decided not to vote at all.

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Reproductive rights are a public health issue. That's a fact.

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