PA Republicans are moving a forced ultrasound bill just like the one that’s been advancing in Virginia.
Maria at Crooked Timber explains why this is such an invasive practice:
This is a live issue in the US, where legislators are trying to force women who want abortions to undergo ‘just an ultrasound’ to see their babies. The idea is that once women see the fetus, they won’t want to kill it. Religious conservatives can’t seem to conceive that a woman can understand her pregnancy is real and still choose to end it.
During IVF, women have frequent trans-vaginal ultrasounds to see how their ovarian follicles are developing and to measure the lining of the uterus. I have them two or three times a week. It was a big deal for me when I started as it’s basically a dildo with a camera in it, wrapped in a condom, smeared with very cold lubricant, pushing quite hard against the cervix. Towards the end of the cycle it’s quite painful. At any point along, it’s awkward. Even though I can now chat happily about the weather or point out a missed follicle on the screen, the nurse and doctor are still incredibly solicitous of my comfort. They do this scan every day but they appreciate it’s not a normal or comfortable situation for the person being scanned, and they act accordingly.
I want to have these scans. They are getting me somewhere I want to be, and they are administered by professionals I know and trust and who are on part of that journey with me. I believe this invasive scan being forced on pregnant women seeking an abortion would be a violation of their bodies. As someone who gets this scan all the time, I truly cannot imagine the interaction in the room or the doctor/radiographer – patient relationship that would be involved in a woman unwillingly undergoing it from a professional intent on forcing her into something she doesn’t want. I also wonder how there can possibly be consent, when the women are forced to submit in order to be allowed medical care.