ONTD Political

Michigan Republicans Introduce Bill Mandating Transvaginal Ultrasound Before An Abortion

11:22 pm - 02/07/2013

Michigan Republicans have introduced a bill requiring all women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before obtaining an abortion, a move that rekindles last year’s firestorm when other GOP-led states were considering similar measures.

The legislation introduced Tuesday in the state House ensures the “performance of a diagnostic ultrasound examination of the fetus at least two hours before an abortion is performed” and requires her to sign a consent form prior to the abortion. The bill was introduced by state Rep. Joel Johnson (R) and cosponsored by 22 fellow lawmakers.

Johnson was not available for comment Wednesday, but his legislative aide, Ben Frederick, confirmed to TPM that, while the legislation does not specifically mention transvaginal ultrasounds, the bill aims to require women to undergo an ultrasound prior to receiving an abortion.

Katie Carey, a spokeswoman for Michigan’s House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel, categorically said the bill would mandate transvaginal ultrasounds for women before an abortion.

“This is an unnecessary and unwarranted intrusion into the health decisions of women,” Greimel told TPM in a statement. “This is yet another example of the Republican obsession with overregulating people’s private lives.”

The bill requires the use of ultrasound equipment “providing the most visibly clear image of the gross anatomical development of the fetus and the most audible fetal heartbeat.” As a practical matter, that requires transvaginal ultrasounds, said Donna Crane, the policy director of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

“It does lay bare that the real motive is to make abortion providers continue to acquire more and more and more equipment before they’re even eligible to perform an abortion,” Crane told TPM. “They’re trying to make it harder for doctors to do their jobs.”

While the ultrasound is currently optional in Michigan, the proposed legislation would make it mandatory. After the ultrasound is conducted, women would have the option to obtain more information if they want it, Frederick said. Women would also have the option of declining to see the ultrasound images.

“This actually modernizes some of the provisions that we’ve had in statutes for years now,” Frederick said. “We’ve had an ultrasound viewing option since 2006, signed into law by Gov. [Jennifer] Granholm with support from both parties. The ultrasounds already happen as a matter of routine and diagnostic necessity. And this would simply add additional options for the patients — they could view or decline to view the images.”

If the bill passes the Republican-controlled legislature and is signed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R), it would provide the woman “the option to view the active ultrasound image of the fetus, hear the fetal heartbeat, receive a physical picture of the ultrasound image of the fetus, and hear an explanation of the ultrasound image of the fetus” by her physician.

Frederick said his boss has reached out to Snyder and is “optimistic” that the bill will move forward with support from members of both parties. Snyder’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The purpose, according to the text of the legislation, is to provide “consumer protection” to women and “ensure fully informed consent to the abortion.”

“The performance of a diagnostic ultrasound examination of the fetus further protects the interests of the woman seeking an abortion,” reads the bill, “by assessing the viability of the fetus and confirming the approximate gestational age of the fetus, as this information is necessary in order to determine appropriate medical care for the woman seeking an abortion.”

Similar measures were introduced last year in Virginia and Alabama, but Republicans backed off after ferocious pushback from women’s advocates and reproductive rights groups, which described it as overly invasive and likened it to rape.

Crane said NARAL and its allies are prepared to fight to sink the legislation.

“Women should be up in arms over these types of laws,” she said. “Unfortunately they’re not new. But the fact that politicians just went through an election cycle and got spanked over how they treat women and reproductive freedoms and still introduce bills like this really boggles the mind. It’s not clear that the sponsors haven’t been living under rocks since November.”


I don't really have anything to say. My rage is too great to express it with coherent words. Even a gif would be inadequate in this situation.

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sunhawk 7th-Feb-2013 10:36 pm (UTC)
Fuck anyone who thinks rape, medically-administrated or otherwise, is in any way ok, plus fuck the people talking about "options" while pushing a bill that will make the ultrasound a REQUIREMENT. Optional =/= required!!

ensure fully informed consent to the abortion

Fuck this wording, because we ladies are obviouisly just too stupid and ignorant about our own bodies when we decide to have an abortion, it must be because we don't know ~how serious it is~ do they make people look at slides of fungus before they'll remove plantar's warts? How about making them have an incision and probe inserted to show people their own organs before they decide to operate on them? No? FUNNY THAT.

Edited at 2013-02-07 10:37 pm (UTC)
ginger_maya 7th-Feb-2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
There's horrible irony in talking about women's informed consent to abortion when they're essentially mandating their rape. I can't. I just can't with this shit.
layweed 7th-Feb-2013 10:40 pm (UTC)
Because it's working SO WELL in Texas, amirite?
tabaqui 7th-Feb-2013 11:01 pm (UTC)
Fuck these people. SO SICK OF THIS. Will it ever end?
nikoel 7th-Feb-2013 11:15 pm (UTC)
silver_apples 8th-Feb-2013 12:22 am (UTC)
The wand is ridiculously intimidating, but I've had two transvaginal ultrasounds, and neither hurt. They were a little uncomfortable, but I've had Pap smears that were worse. Other women have had much more painful experiences, though. I think underlying medical conditions, less-than-gentle technicians, and being tense and scared make it worse.

Not that physical pain or lack of pain is the real issue here, but I thought I'd offer some reassurance to women who may need a transvaginal ultrasound for an actual medical reason.
kitanabychoice 7th-Feb-2013 11:19 pm (UTC)
abiding 7th-Feb-2013 11:20 pm (UTC)
This bullshit again, ugh.
schexyschteve 7th-Feb-2013 11:21 pm (UTC)
MICHIGAN, STOP. What the fuck is wrong with you, and why are you taking a page out of other stupid states' playbooks?!

It's not like women don't know what's in there, for fuck's sake. It's not like they go in thinking, "Oh, well surely there must be an onion up there!" And then surprise! It's a fetus!
ginger_maya 7th-Feb-2013 11:23 pm (UTC)
Why did you remove my trigger warning for sexual assault tag, mod? As a sexual assault survivor I definitely got triggered by this article. Others might be triggered too.
suwiel 7th-Feb-2013 11:47 pm (UTC)
Considering the subject matter, I definitely agree with keeping the sexual assault warning tag. I was wondering why you hadn't added one, but this makes sense!
mickeym 7th-Feb-2013 11:44 pm (UTC)
“This is yet another example of the Republican obsession with overregulating people’s private lives.”

No, it's another example of the Republican obsession with overregulating WOMEN'S private lives.
intrikate88 TW for... questionable consent issues? What some might consider sexual molestation?8th-Feb-2013 12:14 am (UTC)
Look at that wand. Like, if you can compel someone with the threat of ruining their livelihood if they don't let you stick that in them, I can't see how that's NOT rape.

When I was a teenager (18, I think, not incredibly young) I got an ovarian cyst and was told to get an ultrasound. The only thing I knew about ultrasounds was that they smear some gel on your belly when you're pregnant and rub a sensor across it. The word 'transvaginal' was never mentioned, no one told me what to be prepared for.

I showed up at the hospital early in the morning, and someone demanded to know why I hadn't drunk a ton of water. I hadn't been told to do that, so I had to sit in the waiting room, drinking cup after cup of water for an hour and a half, knowing I was going to be late for work, with a cyst seriously making me want to stab myself in the abdomen. Finally I told them I my bladder was full and if they didn't get on with it I'd have to pee.

The first indicator I had that they were going to stick that wand the side of a giant hair curler up my vag was when the technician told me to scoot to the edge of the table and spread my legs. I had never had sex before, never had anything up in me before. When it was finally over and I could go to the bathroom, I'm pretty sure I was bleeding.

My point is: I signed an informed consent form, and for my own preferences I'm not going to consider the incident as more than an uncomfortable medical necessity that I would prefer not to repeat, but I bet that I'm far from the only young woman who didn't get told the 'transvaginal' part when she signed her name on the consent form. And so I don't care how many legislators want to call this a procedure that is just a little precursor to going ahead with an abortion- there are so many ways that this violates women without consent and so few ways to argue that consent is present.

So, no. Just no.
silver_apples Re: TW for... questionable consent issues? What some might consider sexual molestation?8th-Feb-2013 01:29 am (UTC)
That's horrible. I'm sorry you had to go through that.

I think they did it wrong. You are supposed to have a full bladder for the regular ultrasound and an empty bladder for the transvaginal.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
tigerdreams 8th-Feb-2013 12:15 am (UTC)
"as this information is necessary in order to determine appropriate medical care for the woman seeking an abortion"

You know what the ~appropriate medical care for the woman seeking an abortion~ is, you fuckwit? GIVE HER A GODDAMN ABORTION.
sorchekyrkby 8th-Feb-2013 12:34 am (UTC)
Seriously, how is this a difficult thing to figure out?
bluebombardier 8th-Feb-2013 02:04 am (UTC)


Fuck you.

ahzuri 8th-Feb-2013 02:10 am (UTC)
I don't even like having these done at my prenatal sonogram appointments for a wanted pregnancy I wouldn't ever want that forced on anyone who has an unwanted pregnancy for any reason I would feel straight violated.
zinnia_rose 8th-Feb-2013 02:10 am (UTC)
Needs the "not this shit again" tag.
moonshaz 8th-Feb-2013 02:23 am (UTC)
I hope to gods somebody somewhere is working on taking one of these fuckstick (pun intended) states to court. Because beyond the whole reproductive rights part, and the violating of women part, THE FUCKING GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO FORCE PEOPLE TO UNDERGO MEDICALLY UNNECESSARY MEDICAL PROCEDURES. (Vaccinations don't count as "medically unnecessary," so the govt. can mandate those all they want, afaic.)

I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know what the legal arguments would be. But I can't help but believe that there HAS to be a basis for a lawsuit in here somewhere.

I also can't help but wonder how many male lawmakers would vote in favor of a law that mandated their having to let someone shove a probe up their asses FOR NO REASON EXCEPT TO PROVIDE THEM WITH "INFORMATION" THAT THEY DON'T WANT OR NEED. I'm guessing about, oh, zero?

This is SOOOOOOOOOO many different kinds of wrong,

Edited at 2013-02-08 02:29 am (UTC)
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