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Controversial Abdominal Ultrasound Bill Passed in Virginia

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Common Dreams staff

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed a controversial bill this afternoon that requires women to undergo an abdominal ultrasound prior to having an abortion.

The bill, HB 462, had already passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 63-35 and the Virginia Senate by a vote of 21-19, WTVR Richmond reports.

RH Reality Check tweets that Virginia now joins 7 other states that require ultrasounds before abortions:

On Saturday in Virginia a protest against the legislation was met with heavy police force outside the capitol. The Roanoke Times reports:

The heavy police presence and the arrests at Saturday's demonstration heightened tension that has simmered at the Capitol for past eight weeks, as legislation affecting abortion rights has moved through the General Assembly and made national headlines. On Monday, Democrats in the Virginia Senate denounced the police presence as a severe overreaction that sends a chilling message to citizens and hurts the state's reputation.

"Our state Capitol is becoming an armed garrison," Sen. Janet Howell, D-Fairfax County, said on the Senate floor Monday. "Not since the massive resistance days in the '60s have I seen such a disgraceful display of excessive police presence in my state."

Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, said the police force -- which included state police in riot gear -- was "more appropriate for a bar brawl than a civil protest."

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As a growing number of states are enacting legislation that affect reproductive health decisions, ThinkProgress has created an interactive map indicating restrictive measures passing through states including ultrasound bills as well as abortion refusals:

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