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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Ultrasound bill passes in House and Senate

Friday, February 17, 2012

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

Bills that would require a pregnant woman to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion have passed the House of Delegates and the Senate.

As part of Virginia's informed consent law, HB 462 and SB 484 would use the procedure to determine the gestation age of the fetus.

The bills would also ensure that the woman would be given the opportunity to view the ultrasound image prior to an abortion, and a copy of the image would be kept in the woman's medical records at the facility where the abortion is to be performed.

HB 462 passed the House on a 63-36 vote. Del. Kathy Byron (R-Lynchburg) introduced the bill, and Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Glade Hill) copatroned the bill.

SB 484 passed in the Senate on a 21-18 vote. Sens. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin County) and Ralph Smith (R-Roanoke) both voted in favor of the bill.

This week, the House also passed HB 1, which would include unborn children in the definition of "person" under Virginia law. The law would define life as beginning at conception.

The bill passed on a 66-32 vote. Byron and Poindexter both voted in favor of the bill, which would provide unborn children with all the rights and privileges afforded to all persons.

Another bill, HB 62, passed the House on a 64-35 vote. The bill would repeal the section of the law that authorizes funding for abortions for women who meet certain financial criteria in cases where the fetus is believed to have an incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency. Byron and Poindexter both supported the bill.

In the Senate, Stanley's bill (SB 674) would include a fetus as a "person" in the state's wrongful death act. This would allow a woman, her representative or the father of the fetus to file a civil claim if a fetus is killed by a "wrongful act, neglect or default" of a person or corporation. The bill passed on a 28-11 vote on Tuesday. Smith also voted in favor of the bill.

Anyone interested in tracking bills during this session of the Virginia General Assembly should visit and click on Legislative Information System, then Bills & Resolutions and type in the bill number.

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