Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wisconsin to Import Virginia's Transvaginal Mandate

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has thrown his support behind an anti-abortion measure that’s currently moving through the state legislature, saying he will sign the bill into law if it makes it to his desk. SB 206 would require women to undergo an ultrasound before getting an abortion — which would mandate an invasive transvaginal probe for some of the women who seek early abortions in their first trimester — and force one of the state’s last abortion clinics to close its doors.

“I don’t have any problem with ultrasound,” Walker told reporters on Tuesday in Milwaukee. “I think most people think ultrasounds are just fine.” 
Forced ultrasound bills mandate a medically unnecessary procedure that would otherwise be left up to the discretion of a woman and her doctor. Medical experts, including the largest national group representing thousands of OB-GYNs across the country, are opposed to this type of legislation because they say it interferes with their work and compromises their relationships with patients. “All of a sudden, the Senate is full of doctors,” Wisconsin Sen. Tim Cullen (D) said in reference to SB 206′s advancement. 
And, even though the lawmakers who push for mandatory ultrasound measures sometimesdeny it, these laws also require many women to undergo an invasive transvaginal probe. Before 12 weeks of pregnancy, a transvaginal ultrasound is the only way to detect a clear image— and, since the vast majority of women in the United States seek abortion services in their first trimester, those women must submit to an invasive probe in order to comply with these burdensome laws. Over the past year, reproductive rights advocates have repeatedly decried transvaginal ultrasound laws as “state sponsored rape.”

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