News Abortion

Virginia Senate Passes Bill Repealing Mandatory Ultrasound Law

Emily Crockett

The bill passed the state senate on a tie-breaking vote from the lieutenant governor, while a bill repealing a ban on insurance coverage for abortion failed.

The Virginia senate narrowly passed a pro-choice bill Tuesday that would repeal the state’s medically unnecessary mandatory ultrasound law.

Women—and men—from across Virginia have been clear: they’re done with politically motivated bills that attack women’s health,” said Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, in a statement. “Those Senators who stood with women today and voted to repeal the medically unnecessary ultrasound requirement have shown they understand the will of Virginia voters.”

The bill, SB 617, initially failed to pass on an 18-22 vote, but was reconsidered and received a 20-20 tie vote. Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam broke the tie in favor of the bill.

Leading medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose mandatory diagnostic tests that are unnecessary and add to the expense of abortion care.

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Another pro-choice bill, SB 618, failed in the senate Tuesday on an 18-22 vote. That bill would have repealed a law that forbids insurance providers on the federal exchanges from covering abortions. The two bills are part of the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition’s “Healthy Women, Healthy Families” agenda, which seeks to proactively protect women’s health and gain back lost ground on that issue.

The ultrasound repeal now moves to the Republican-dominated state house.

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