The assault on women is not isolated to the Virginia legislature. There are currently bills in 27 states that require unnecessary procedures to obtain an abortion. The only purpose for those procedures is to humiliate women seeking a procedure they have a right to obtain.
Virginia officials backed off last week from requiring vaginal ultrasounds before abortions, but state legislators are still expected to pass a bill that mandates abdominal ultrasounds and adds other significant requirements for women seeking abortions.
In recent years, this common diagnostic tool has taken a greater role in abortion-related legislation. Seven states require ultrasounds before abortions. Twenty states regulate some aspect of ultrasound exams, including requiring abortion providers to give women the option to view the image or listen to the fetal heartbeat if an ultrasound is performed.
Eleven other states have legislation pending. If all of the measures pass, more than half of the states will have laws governing ultrasound exams before abortions. “I think we’re in the middle of a wave of ultrasound bills,” said Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst with the Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive health.
As David Dayen at FDL News Desk explains these requirements force the woman to make an extra trip to the doctor at her own expense. Ultrasounds are rarely medically necessary in the first few weeks of pregnancy. There is only one reason for it to be require: to heap shame and guilt on the woman getting her to stop the abortion. In the states where this is mandated, there has been no precipitous drop in abortion rates.
In Michigan, House Bill 4433 would expand the state’s already-present requirements for pre-abortion ultrasounds. If passed (a likely outcome in Michigan’s strongly anti-choice state government) the law will require pre-abortion ultrasounds to be conducted with the “most technologically advanced ultrasound equipment available,” further defined as the equipment which “is capable of providing the most visibly clear image of the gross anatomical development of the fetus and the most audible fetal heartbeat.” While the bill states that a woman be given the “option” to view the ultrasound or not, it also mandates that the monitors must be turned toward the woman, so that her only way of not viewing the image is to close her eyes or turn her head away. The bill also requires that the professional performing the ultrasound give a detailed description of the fetus’ current developmental stage, and must offer the woman a printed ultrasound image.
Requiring transvaginal ultrasounds would violate women by invading their bodies. Turning an ultrasound monitor toward a woman and attempting to force her to view the images even if she does not want to see them is an act of emotional and psychological violation. Both are medically unnecessary and needlessly cruel and patronizing. And neither should ever be mandated by a state’s government.
While the procedure may provide the physician with needed information there is no reason to force the woman to view the screen, hear the fetal heartbeat or the a detailed description of the fetus. A woman who has made the decision to terminate her pregnancy is not going to change her mind at this stage. Using hack psychology has no medical value and is just another assault on her person.
Since all the publicity about the Virginia bill mandating state rape with a transvaginal untrasound, there is increasingly vocal and organized opposition to these bills as Rachel Maddow highlighted
If you really want to raise your blood pressure and have a strong stomach, you can read the transcript of a live interview with Gov. Bob McConnell from WTOP. I won’t elaborate.