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Poll shows Virginia voters opposed to ultrasound bill

Bob McDonnell MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Most Virginia voters disagree with a law that will require women to have an ultrasound procedure prior to terminating a pregnancy, according to a poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University.

About52 percent of Virginia registered voters oppose the legislation. Forty-one percent of those surveyed support it, according to the survey, conducted between March 13 and 18.

The survey shows more men disapprove of the law than women. Fifty-six percent of men disapprove, while 38 percent approve. Forty-nine percent of women disapprove, while 44 percent approve. Most Democrats (67 percent) disapprove, and most Republicans (61 percent) approve.

The bill, which McDonnell signed into law earlier this month, sparked a national controversy over a provision that would have required many women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds, which opponents decry as medically unnecessary and physically invasive.

McDonnell, a conservative who opposes abortion rights, ultimately requested that mandate be stripped, and the Virginia House of Delegates subsequently passed a revised version that allows women to "reject" a transvaginal ultrasound and instead opt for an abdominal ultrasound, which can yield less information in the early stages of a pregnancy.

The legislation proved ideologically polarizing, with many Democrats and abortion rights activists decrying it as an invasion of privacy aimed at shaming women out of having abortions. Republicans heralded it as a way to provide women with as much information as possible about their pregnancies prior to having an abortion.

Seventy-two percent of Virginia voters said in the Quinnipiac survey that the government should not make laws which try to convince women seeking an abortion to change their minds. Twenty-one percent said the opposite.

The poll also shows a drop in support for McDonnell in the weeks following debate over the controversial bill, though his approval rating remains higher than 50 percent.

According to the survey, 53 percent of voters approve of the job McDonnell is doing, while 32 percent do not. In a Feb. 9 poll, 58 percent approved of the job McDonnell was doing, while 24 percent did not. McDonnell's March rating is his lowest since Quinnipiac began Virginia surveys June 29, 2011.

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