Update: Indiana lawmakers have decided just one mandatory transvaginal probe is good enough. The Indiana Senate will be voting on this measure today.
Are conservative lawmakers just trying to one-up each other now? It’s the only reasonable explanation for a piece of legislation coming out of Indiana that would require women undergo an ultrasound both before and after having a medication-induced abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy.
The double-ultrasound bill advanced out of the Indiana Senate Health and Provider Services Committee and now heads to a full vote in the Senate. The bill heavily regulates clinics and doctors and requires a woman to be presented with the sound and image of the fetal heartbeat before the abortion and then to return for a follow-up ultrasound to guarantee she is no longer pregnant.
Like other mandatory ultrasound laws, the procedures mandated in the Indiana bill would have to be performed transvaginally since medication abortions usually happen up to 10 weeks from a woman’s last period, too early in the pregnancy for an external ultrasound to provide the images required by the law.
In addition to mandating two ultrasounds, the bill has a host of building regulations designed to close the state’s only provider. The law requires all clinics that provide medication abortions to meet the same building standards as surgical facilities, even if the clinic does not perform surgical abortions. According to The Huffington Post, if the bill passes, it will likely be so cost-prohibitive that the Planned Parenthood facility in Lafayette, the only abortion provider in the county, will be forced to stop offering abortions.
Conservatives pushing the restrictions offered up the same-old rationale of “protecting” women and seemed confused as to why mandating unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds would be offensive. “I got pregnant vaginally,” Sue Swayze, legislative director of Indiana Right to Life told local radio station WBAA. “Something else could come in my vagina for a medical test that wouldn’t be that intrusive to me. So I find that argument a little ridiculous.”
Only a conservative would call arguments around consent to vaginal penetration ridiculous, but that’s another post.
I guess there’s not much left to do now but thank conservatives for finally being totally transparent that their goal in regulating abortion is to punish women for having sex. It’s not really more complicated than that. If it were, they’d be able to explain how two unnecessary and invasive medical procedures “help” women do anything other than feel shamed and punished for needing reproductive medical care.
Photo from Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via flickr.