The Virginia Senate voted Tuesday for a scaled-back version of a contentious proposal that would require women to undergo external ultrasounds before abortions, but not the transvaginal ones.
The 21-19 vote in the Republican-controlled Senate — mostly along party lines — came after Gov. Robert F. McDonnell asked legislators to soften the bill following protests on Capitol Square and mocking on national television, including “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “Saturday Night Live.’’
McDonnell, an abortion opponent who had said he would sign the bill, asked lawmakers to amend the measure after it became clear the original legislation would have required a vaginal ultrasound in most cases because abortions usually occur in the first trimester.
The Senate amended the bill to exclude women who have reported to law enforcement that they are victims of rape and incest. But women who know that their fetus suffers from birth defects would have to undergo an ultrasound.
Two Democrats — Sen. Charles Colgan (Prince William) and Phil Puckett (Russell) — voted with Republicans. One Republican, Sen. John Watkins (Chesterfield), voted with Democrats.
Because another amendment was added to the bill on Tuesday, the measure goes to the Republican-dominated House of Delegates for approval before it heads to McDonnell for his signature.