Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meanwhile, in Alabama. The Transvaginal Ultrasound is Baaaack!

From Rheality Check:
The Alabama legislature is considering a mandated vaginal ultrasound bill in an attempt to restrict safe abortion care, or as State Senator Linda Coleman (D - Jefferson) says "a state-sanctioned rape bill."
The bill explicitly includes mandated trans-vaginal ultrasound.
The proposed bill is out of the committee.

I love this:
The chairman of the Alabama Senate Health Committee said he doesn’t see a conflict of interest between his support for a bill that would require physicians to perform ultrasounds on women seeking abortions and his company, which sells the type of equipment the bill would require.
Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper, voted to move Senate Bill 12 out of committee last week because he said it’s a good bill that would help “a mother to understand that a live baby is inside her body.”
Both parts are fun. The former is a weird shadow of other Republican values, having to do with money, and the latter tells us what certain conservatives think of women's cognitive abilities.

Senator Reed seems to think that women who seek abortion don't know that they are pregnant! Perhaps that aquarium inside the woman (which really belongs to Senator Reed) could contain something else which gives similar symptoms. A shrimp?

Sigh. I also love the emotional manipulation (the terms "mother" and "live baby").

So what does the proposed bill do? A few snippets:
b) Prior to a woman giving informed consent to having any part of an abortion performed or induced, and prior to the administration of any anesthesia or medication in preparation for the abortion on the woman, the physician who is to perform the abortion or a qualified technician shall:
(1) Perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman, using either a vaginal transducer or an abdominal transducer, whichever would display the embryo or fetus more clearly.
(2) Provide a simultaneous verbal explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting, which shall include the presence and location of the unborn child within the uterus and the number of unborn children depicted. If the ultrasound image indicates that fetal demise has occurred, a woman shall be informed of that fact.
(3) Display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view them.
Page 41 (4) Provide a medical description of the ultrasound 2 images, which shall include the dimensions of the embryo or 3 fetus and the presence of external members and internal 4 organs, if present and viewable.
5 (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to 6 prevent a pregnant woman from averting her eyes from the 7 ultrasound images required to be provided to and reviewed with 8 her. Neither the physician nor the pregnant woman shall be 9 subject to any penalty if she declines to look at the
10 presented ultrasound images. 11 Section 4. (a) The provisions of Section 3 shall not 12 apply to an abortion provider or facility in the case of a 13 medical emergency.

There's that transvaginal ultrasound again! But this proposed bill would also let all sorts of people sue a medical provider who didn't perform the mandatory ultrasound! For instance:
Section 6. (a) Any person upon whom an abortion has 18 been performed without compliance with this act, the father of 19 the unborn child who was the subject of the abortion, or the 20 grandparent of an unborn child may maintain an action against 21 the person who performed the abortion in knowing or reckless 22 violation of this act for actual and punitive damages.
That aquarium belongs to a whole lot of folks in Alabama! Not sure why siblings of the woman (or the man) can't sue. The more the merrier, right? Could a rapist sue over the lack of an ultrasound in the abortion performed on the woman he raped?

The whole thing sounds very poorly written. Unless all ectopic pregnancies are defined as medical emergencies, the proposed bill would require an ultrasound and a description of the embryo even in that case. And in the cases of partial miscarriages.