Despite the firestorm it created last year, Republican state lawmakers have introduced new legislation to require women to undergo an ultrasound before terminating their pregnancy.
A Republican lawmaker on Tuesday introduced a measure to the Michigan House that would require women to be subjected to the invasive procedure before receiving an abortion, Talking Points Memo reported. The bill, introduced by state Rep. Joel Johnson (R), notes that “a state is permitted to enact persuasive measures that favor childbirth over abortion, even if those measures do not further a health interest.”
Though the bill only mandates a “diagnostic ultrasound examination of the fetus,” an aide for Johnson confirmed a transvaginal ultrasound would be required.
A similar bill, introduced to the Tennessee legislature by State Sen. Jim Tracy (R), requires women to specifically undergo a “fetal transabdominal ultrasound” rather than a transvaginal ultrasound.
Under the bill, the ultrasound technician would be required to make the fetal heartbeat audible and offer the patient a printed copy of the ultrasound image.
“This is a bill whose only purpose is to shame and belittle women,” Corinne Rovetti of the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health told WATE. “To make women feel as if they don’t know they’re pregnant and therefore the law tells them they must have an ultrasound.”
Critics have also noted that since most abortions are performed in the first trimester, the fetus would be too small to be viewed by an transabdominal ultrasound.
“This is the kind of issue you have when you have nonmedical professionals trying to legislate on a medical issue,” Jeff Teague, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, told The Tennessean.
[Doctor Working With Ultrasonic Medical Device via Shutterstock]