Bryce Reeves, a Virginia state senator, once suggested that sticking wands up women’s vaginas can help them make better decisions about whether to get an abortion.
Reeves, who still represents the state’s 17th district, made the comments in 2012 to defend a proposed Virginia bill that would have required an invasive “transvaginal” ultrasound for women who wanted the procedure.
“This bill — transvaginal ultrasound bill, of which I gotta tell ya, I think helps women make a logical, rational decision,” the Republican Reeves said while speaking on the conservative talk radio John Fredericks Show.
Audio of the comments was uncovered by the government watchdog American Ledger, which is backed by the liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century.
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Back in 2012, the Virginia state legislature was torn apart over a bill mandating that, 24 hours before an abortion, people who want the procedure undergo an ultrasound. Under the bill, the provider performing the ultrasound also had to offer to show the patient an image of the ultrasound and ask her if she wanted to hear the fetal heartbeat.
The original version of the bill didn’t specify what type of ultrasound would be required, but because most abortions take place in the first trimester of pregnancy, doctors would have had to perform a transvaginal ultrasound and insert a wand up a woman’s vagina in order to secure an image.
Abdominal ultrasounds, which involve smearing gel on a woman’s stomach and smoothing a wand over it, are usually used later on in a pregnancy.
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In February 2012, Reeves voted against a motion that struck the bill from the Senate calendar. While that bill never passed, another Virginia bill that required women to at least undergo abdominal ultrasounds was signed into law in March 2012.
Reeves’ office didn’t immediately return requests for comment from VICE News.
Cover: Bryce Reeves speaks during the Millennial Advocacy Council PAC and NextGen GOP statewide candidate debate Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)