Virginia is on course to pass a watered-down version of a controversial abortion law that would require women to have an ultrasound exam before terminating their pregnancy.
The state attracted national ire and ridicule when opponents discovered that the original bill would have mandated a specific type of sonogram that requires a woman to have a probe inserted into her vagina.
The original version was stricken from the Senate record, a move that allows a law's sponsor to nullify it, even if it has been passed. The Virginia House passed a version calling explicitly for externally administered ultrasounds, and that bill will be taken up in the Senate next week.
Between Southern manners and a concern for the sensitivities of teenage Senate pages, legislators were slow to grasp the implications of a "trans-vaginal" ultrasound. But when it emerged that fulfilling the strictures of the law would likely require women being penetrated with a medical probe, the proposed legislation attracted national attention.