In 2001, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation requiring physicians to offer women government-written materials concerning abortion as well as realistic pictures of fetuses at every two weeks during gestation. Such materials and counseling must be provided at least 24 hours before the abortion procedure.
A study from Rutgers University found over 41% of the statements about pregnancy in the first trimester in the government-written materials are medically inaccurate.
The legislation, House Bill 2570, was sponsored by 15 Delegates including future Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, and passed by a vote of 65 to 35. Its companion Senate Bill 1211 passed by a vote of 24 to 15. It was signed into law by Governor Jim Gilmore and became effective on July 1, 2001.
“After two months of regularly taking my birth control, I realized that I was pregnant. After crying, taking two more tests, crying more to my sisters, and wondering if my mother needed a new baby to fill her empty nest, I called my boyfriend. We decided that, while we would like to have children together eventually, we were not emotionally or financially ready to have a child. He took me to the clinic (twice so I could think hard about my decision after receiving unwelcome counseling and an even more unwelcome ultrasound) and brought me home afterward…. I thought about my life and the man I love and the children we will one day raise together, and I felt reassured that my choice was correct because, ultimately, it is, and should always be, my choice.”