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Michigan House GOP says it won’t mandate transvaginal ultrasounds

Michigan State Capitol (Bill Pugliano/GETTY IMAGES)

The speaker of the Michigan House says his chamber will not pass a bill requiring women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds in order to obtain an abortion.

A bill was introduced in the House this week that requires women seeking an abortion to have imaging done using the "most technologically advanced ultrasound equipment available at that location.” Some have read that as including transvaginal ultrasounds, an invasive procedure that is highly controversial in the debate over what states should require women to undergo before obtaining an abortion.

But Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger, a Republican, emphasized Wednesday that no such bill will pass. "While I want to be sure women have access to the best technology available, I have absolutely no interest in forcing a woman to have a transvaginal ultrasound," Bolger said in a statement. "This House of Representatives will not pass a bill mandating transvaginal ultrasounds."

This doesn't appear to mean that the bill is dead. The bill's author, Rep. Joel Johnson (R), has said he is open to amending the legislation to clarify that it does not mandate transvaginal ultrasounds.

The issue of transvaginal ultrasounds and abortion cropped up in Virginia last year and caused significant headaches for Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who at the time was a leading candidate for the Republican vice presidential nominee. McDonnell later signed a bill that required women to undergo an abdominal ultrasound.

Michigan's Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is up for reelection in 2014. A spokesman told TPM that Snyder doesn't support the House bill.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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