RICHMOND, Va. — Hundreds of women have locked arms and stood mute outside the Virginia State Capitol to protest a wave of anti-abortion legislation coursing through the 2012 General Assembly.

Capitol and state police officers, there to ensure order, estimated the crowd to be more than 1,000 people — mostly women, some men. The crowd formed a human cordon through which legislators walked before Monday’s floor sessions of the Republican-controlled legislature.

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The group was protesting bills that would cut off state aid to poor women seeking abortions, define embryos as humans and criminalize their destruction, and require “transvaginal” ultrasounds of women seeking abortions. In the procedure, a wand-like device is inserted and used to send out sound waves.

None of the protesters carried posters. Few spoke, even when spoken to. Richmond resident Molly Vick wore a shirt that read, “Say no to state mandated rape.”