Here’s the thing about ultrasounds and abortions.
EVERY pregnancy termination MUST be preceded by an ultrasound. There is not a single doctor with a shred of ethical behavior who will attempt to perform a termination without verifying that the patient is pregnant, and what the gestation is. Transvaginal ultrasounds are often used in early first trimester abortions because it’s the best way to get an accurate view of the uterus.
So what makes this different from legislation mandating transvaginal ultrasounds?
The type of ultrasound used is determined by the doctor based on what is safest for the woman. The legislation is written, not to protect women, but to intimidate them and frighten them away from making decisions about their bodies. A transvaginal ultrasound is not appropriate or necessary for all terminations, and it should not be used when an abdominal ultrasound is sufficient.
Why is the legislation requiring any kind of ultrasound wrong?
Because the legislation, again, isn’t written to protect a woman’s health and well-being. Many of these bills require that the doctor show the woman her ultrasound (instead of giving her the choice as all doctors do) and many mandate that the doctor point out various parts of the fetus (in as much as they’re even visible). These bills also often require an ultrasound (with accompanying guilt) BEFORE the patient can even be scheduled for an abortion, instead of at the time of the termination, after consent has been given. Instead of safeguarding a woman’s health, this often requires her to take more time off of work (meaning lost wages and worse financial stability), spend more money on the procedure (again, worse financial stability), and face greater stigma and degradation (through protesters at health centers, forced transvaginal ultrasounds, and inaccurate/shaming medical information).
Abortion providers do what is necessary for a woman’s well-being, physically, emotionally, and often financially if they’re able. Legislators who try to mandate medical practices are motivated by zealotry and religious biases that drive a desire to control women’s reproductive abilities and limit their bodily autonomy. I, for one, will trust the medical professionals who have studied and trained to provide their services over politicians who use the issue of my reproductive health to further their ideological agendas and pander to conservative constituents.