Senate Defeats Ultrasound Funding Requirement

Late yesterday, the Virginia Senate defeated a floor amendment to the state budget that would have forced Virginians to pay for what is already a routine and regularly practiced test, an ultrasound prior to an abortion. Yesterday’s amendment would have allowed some of the proposed $3 million in taxpayer money to go to Planned Parenthood and other entities in the abortion industry (see, which quotes Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb extensively). Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-3, James City County) argued against the amendment, pointing to several places in the Code that require medical treatment that are not paid for by Virginia taxpayers. Reading from the Code, Senator Norment effectively undermined the primary argument of abortion defenders that "this is the only place in the law where we require a medical procedure." Moreover, this test is only done when someone considers elective abortion, not to mention that the law requires the abortion center to inform the woman where free ultra sounds are available (all Pregnancy Resource Centers offer them at no cost).

Senator Jeff McWaters (R-8, Virginia Beach) also argued against the amendment, saying, "This is not just a simple matter of an inexpensive test. This is a matter for many of human life, of the sanctity of human life and not about a small, few-million-dollar expenditure for tests that are being discussed on this floor."

The amendment was one of the final issues dealt with prior to the Senate finally passing a budget. Legislators are back at the capitol this week in a forced special session to craft a budget that was supposed to have been completed at the end of the regular session, which ended on the first Saturday of March. Yesterday, lawmakers mainly took procedural votes necessary for the budget to go to a conference committee where the final details and differences between the House and Senate will be worked out.

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A great many thanks to everyone who contacted their senators since our e-mail alert on Saturday! Your voice helped make the difference.