Jim DeMint: Forced Ultrasounds Are “A Good Thing” (VIDEO)

This week, Rachel Maddow took Republicans to task, having them admit that a number of states are forcing women to have invasive transvaginal ultrasounds — but not before former US Senator Jim DeMint claimed women supported such procedures.

The exchange happened on NBC’s Meet the Press with David Gregory, and saw former Senator for South Carolina Jim DeMint, now leader of the religious conservative Heritage Foundation, blatantly and willfully invoke the Gosnell case as though it is representative of all reproductive health services.

He even went on to say women enjoy the “opportunity” of ultrasounds, as though ultrasounds weren’t an option prior to state mandating sometimes invasive and always medically unnecessary procedures.

NBC’s Rachel Maddow refused to let that oversight slide. Here’s a key snippet from the exchange:

Jim DeMint: I am glad to see that a lot of states like Texas and Arkansas begin to consider this. The more the ultrasound has become part of the law where a woman gets the opportunity to see that there is a real child its beginning to change minds and I think that is a good thing.


Rachel Maddow: Women don’t get the opportunity with ultrasound, the ultrasound bills are mandated by the state. So if a woman does not want an ultrasound, or if her doctor does not want her to have an ultrasound, if the ultrasound is not medically indicated, the state government is stepping in and saying you must have this ultrasound by order of the state government. And because of the timing in a lot of these … what is being mandated is a vaginal ultrasound. So it is an invasive vaginal forced procedure that a woman cannot say no to by order of the state government. And that is alright with you. I understand that. You feel like you have an interest strong enough to override a woman’s desire to not have that happen to her that you can insist that it does as a legislator. But most American women I think are gonna balk at that. And if you want to make that a federal issue, I say that the Democrats are gonna be delighted to have that fight but as Republicans push this further and further and further, it’s the Wendy Davis’ of the world that are going to force you to make your argument [...] .

Jim DeMint: She is forgetting about the thousands of women who want an informed choice, who want the opportunity to get a free ultrasound which they can get not from Planned Parenthood but from a lot of these pregnancy centers.


Rachel Maddow: It’s not free.

This led to fellow guest, academic and author Michael Eric Dyson exclaiming: “Thank God for Wendy Davis.”

Watch the exchange below:

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The disconnect between the what anti-choice legislators and activists see as reasonable restrictions and the actual reality of forcing women to undergo invasive and unnecessary medical screenings before they can access abortion services seems to be widening to a point where it becomes virtually undeniable that views like those offered by DeMint, whatever he might otherwise say, give no consideration to the autonomy or personhood of women.

Germane to that, and what continues to be interesting, is the meme-monolith that state senator Wendy Davis has become despite the media trying its hardest to reduce her to her footwear.

Davis’ act of filibustering Texas anti-choice legislation, and refusing to back down even when Governor Rick Perry called a special session and then attempted a smidgen of patronizing character assassination in the bumbling way in which only he is capable, has made her a totem for the movement. She has become of meme of freedom and solidarity where the “I Stand With Wendy Davis” affirmation has grown into a now national refrain of “I Stand With Texas Women.”

As the pro-choice demonstrations continue, Davis has warned that the “eyes of the country” are now watching as Republicans renew their effort to ban terminations after 20 weeks and force all but five of the state’s 42 abortion clinics to close.

Davis, it should also be noted,  is now being touted as a potential candidate for governor. Should that happen, anti-choice and (let’s be honest) anti-women’s freedom Republicans would find themselves having inadvertently given a platform to a powerful opponent and, moreover, having supplied fertile ground for commentators like the educated and erudite Maddow to take on the profound ignorance in statements like those DeMint is shoveling.

Moreover, when the abortion debate reaches the highest court in the land, having women like Wendy Davis as Governor of Texas, or even as a US Congresswoman, will be vital. The irony that it is the anti-choice legislators’ extreme positions that have allowed figures like Davis to rise to such prominence will, then, be lost on no one.

Image credit: Thinkstock.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven9 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S9 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm4 years ago

The government shouldnt be involved in this at all. WE agree

Ellen Gaston
Ellen Gaston4 years ago

It would be nice if lawmakers were as fervent in cutting wasteful spending and cracking down on fraud as they are in preserving the ability to kill viable babies. Perhaps if the abortion mills would not have told their clients their babies were just a "clump of cells" or "tissue" the ultrasound requirements would not be being tossed around. I prefer knowing the truth from my doctor... not euphemisms.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm4 years ago

There is no requirement YEST for trans-vaginal unltra sounds. Some gornement officials HAVE pressed the idea and even put it up to a vote.

The reason for the extra requirements is NOT to make it safer for the Woman. Its to drive clinics out of business. Everyone but the far right knows this. Its painfullyobvious what the game is.

Ultrasounds are medical procedures. DOCTORS should decide when and if one is given Not the state. And I dodnt live in Kansas…..I dodnt care what those idiots uop there do.

I dont live in France. I dodnt care what they do.

Sooner or later this country is going to have to come to a compromise on this issue. UNfortunately once they get 20 weeks they will press for 18 or 16 or even Franc's 12 in the next elextion cycle. Unless the religious right wins even more seats where some are calling it human even before it attaches to the uterine wall. Abortions are going to happen regardless of what laws you pass. They will simply be less safe.

Heather G.
Heather G4 years ago

In an early term abortion an ultrasound is unnecessary. Its only purpose is to add to the price of an abortion. The anti-reproductive freedom crowd should be against unnecessary ultrasounds since one of their arguments against abortion is the PROFIT made from it.

Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs4 years ago

1. There is no requirement to have a vaginal ultrasound. Maddow is dissembling at best (straw dog argument logical fallacy)
2. what is wrong in requiring abortion surgery centers to meet the basic requirements of all surgery centers?
3. Many PP centers perform ultrasounds prior to abortion without a law requiring, possibly to protect themselves as to age of fetus at abortion.
4. The existing texas law is no abortions after 26 wks-after 24 wks is "late term abortion". Wendy Davis is standing tall for termination of a viable baby, infanticide. PPvKansas requires that a 2nd doctor be present to protect the life and rights of fetuses 24wks or older, so ultrasounds are critical.
5. 62% of all texas voters support the law Davis filibustered.
6. The new Texas law is less restrictive than abortion laws in France, which bar abortion after 12 weeks.

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage s4 years ago


Nirvana Jaganath
Nirvana Jaganath4 years ago


Cyan Dickirs
Cyan Dickirs4 years ago

Sandra L. Who wants to outlaw dildos? Never heard of an attempt to do so. Lebians would be up in arms, because they cannot seem to do without a penis substitute and male/female roles. I don't care about that particular issue if it is one. Sounds like a straw dog logical fallacy to me.
Why do liberals and pro abortionists have to make a case for rape when none exists? Do you object on the basis of rape when there is no penetration, because seldom will a vaginal ultrasound be performed, and is never required.