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More Mandatory Ultrasounds in Michigan?

More Mandatory Ultrasounds in Michigan?

Michigan is looking to be the latest in a litany of states who believe that forcing women into mandatory ultrasound’s prior to the termination of a pregnancy will somehow reduce the number of abortions in their state.  Michigan already has an ultrasound law in place, but lawmakers contend that doctors are getting around the “intent” of the measure by not always using the highest possible imaging resolution when conducting those ultrasounds.

Since enactment of the Ultrasound Viewing Option law in 2006 medical clinics that provide abortion services must give the woman in need of the service the opportunity to view the ultrasound screen and offer her a printout of the ultrasound image.  But according to Michigan state senator Wayne Kuipers (R) the sponsor of this new measure, that just isn’t enough.

The problem (well one of many) with a bill like this, as noted by Robin Marty, is that it’s long on morality and short on substance.  Just how will the restriction be enforced?  Who will monitor if providers are using the “most advanced ultrasound equipment available at their office?”  If passed, would this create a legal obligation by providers to consistently upgrade ultrasound technologies, irrespective of cost or need?  Most importantly, who is going to pay for this?

And what of those women who don’t intend to terminate their pregnancies?  Most insurance plans will not cover advanced ultrasound imaging and some plans refuse to cover more than one ultrasound unless the mother and fetus are considered “high risk.” 

What these questions illustrate is the dubious nature of using these kinds of pressure tactics to try and reduce abortions.  Instead of addressing the reasons why a woman might need to terminate a pregnancy they presume that doctors and their patients can simply be manipulated into making a different decision and treats every decision to terminate a pregnancy the same. 

The bill next goes to the Michigan House for a vote.

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photo courtesy of abby batcheldor via Flickr

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70 comments

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6:23PM PDT on Oct 27, 2010

Yes, I think the rate of abortions should go down, but is this the best method? The government shouldn't say we have to do this, after all isn't that going after one of our fundamental rights? Man, the day a man gets pregnent will be the day bills like this are stopped.

As for women who can't afford the ultrasound, this bill should be helping them, not restricting what we can do with our bodies.

7:41PM PDT on Oct 13, 2010

It's a woman's choice.

8:57AM PDT on Oct 12, 2010

Taylor, the end result does NOT justify the means. if there are fewer abortions because there are fewer un-intended pregnancies that would be great!! but forcing women to carry pregnancies they don't want to term by blocking their access to safe and TIMELY abortion is bad no matter how many fewer abortions take place. (and btw even if abortion was illegal it would still happen)

Being pro-choice is NOT about wanting abortions to happen. it's about the woman choosing what is right for her WHATEVER choice she makes, to keep it, to give it away or to end it!!

10:15AM PDT on Oct 10, 2010

I really don't see what's so bad about reducing the number of abortions performed. It seems like some people WANT abortions to happen...like there's a "daily quota".

2:20PM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

Hmmm... Sounds like the makers of ultrasound machines may have their fingers in this. If doctors keep having to buy the "latest and greatest" machines to meet this law requirement, the makers will earn lots more profits, while patients in general (ultrasounds are used for lots of things besides pregnacy) are going to end up paying through the nose!

11:13AM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

P.S. Reproductive choice is a constitutionally protected right. It is a LEGAL medical procedure and should be covered by all insurance INCLUDING federal and state insurance. All those conservatives and their self righteous whining about how they refuse to have their tax dollars go to funding abortion can just suck it up. A lot of us have a moral objection to our tax dollars funding an unnecessary war, but we deal with it. Welcome to democracy.

10:58AM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

Abortion "industry"? A woman exercising her right to make her own personal reproductive choices is not an "industry". There is no money making commercial enterprise urging women to abort. On the contrary, it is the radical religious right, anti-abortion coalition that serves as a fund raising money machine, spreading misinformation and lies to raise money for right-wing candidates.

10:06AM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

There are three possible things a woman can do about an unwanted pregnancy: 1) abort, 2) bear to term and give up for adoption, 3) bear to term and try to raise the baby herself. Having met a woman who keeps telling her poor son that he is the worst thing that ever happened to her, I believe giving the baby up for adoption would often be kinder to the baby than trying to raise it herself. Trying to make the give up for adoption option more available and attractive would be more help to the unwanted babies than trying to shame the woman into raising the baby herself.

8:43AM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

Amber, you are apparently a staunch pro-lifer, which if that works for you then fine, but you are wrong to impose your beliefs as what is "right" for all women. Also, I too would love to see the day that men could become pregnant, to pass judgement on what they could never begin to understand would no longer be the case.

6:47AM PDT on Oct 8, 2010

this happens normally in a contry where the first issue is money and not health. As long as sanitary needs are inthe hands of private insutances, without a real control things will not be better

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