Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the controversial fetal ultrasound bill Wednesday against the advice of the Senate's resident pediatric neurologist Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk, who throughout the debate over the measure has argued against requiring women to have an ultrasound done before getting an abortion, saying it's medically unnecessary and an infringement on the doctor-patient relationship.
“I am personally embarrassed and extremely disappointed in our governor’s refusal to exercise common sense,” Northam said Thursday.
Two weeks ago Northam sent a letter to McDonnell urging him to drop his support for the legislation, that opponents, including Northam, say is "emotional blackmail" designed to discourage women from receiving an abortion.
In the letter Northam explained why from a medical perspective requiring a woman to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion is medically unnecessary and such decisions on care should be left to the professionals and their patients.
“Elected officials need to concentrate on addressing our crumbling roads, underfunded schools, and high unemployment rate, and let doctors handle the immediate health care needs of their patients," Northam wrote. "What you are doing is mandating that doctors perform a completely useless test, a requirement that is far more invasive of personal liberty than the individual health insurance mandate you so adamantly oppose.”
But the doctor from Norfolk's appeal fell on deaf ears in the governor's mansion.
“I wrote the governor a very sincere note, and haven’t received as much as an acknowledgment, never mind a response,” Northam said. “The bill has made our commonwealth an object of ridicule in the national media, and Virginians expect better leadership. From an administration that touts smaller government and less regulation, such an unnecessary and costly unfunded mandate which assaults the patient-doctor relationship is hypocrisy in its worst and most insulting form.”
Read Northam's full letter to Gov. McDonnell here: