Idaho Senate Passes Forced Ultrasound Bill

Author: March 19, 2012 9:26 pm

The GOP War On Women is alive and well in Idaho. Despite the national outrage and backlash over mandatory ultrasound bills in Virginia and Pennsylvania, and challenges to existing laws enacted in Louisiana and Oklahoma, Idaho Senator Chuck Winder proposed a bill which would force every woman to undergo a mandatory ultrasound prior to having an abortion. Although he’s the author of the bill, Winder admits that he has no idea what type of ultrasound is mandated by his bill nor does he or any other Republican in the state senate know how women would pay for the forced procedure.

The bill cleared the Judiciary Committee on a 7-2 vote, even though public support is sorely lacking. Even within the ranks of Republicans, there is dissension. Republican Senator Patti Ann Lodge has pointed out that while Republicans are raging against the federal government health care mandates, they are legislating mandates of their own.


The bill passed the Senate in a vote of 23-12 today and now moves on to the House. Five Republicans joined all seven of the Senate’s Democrats to oppose the bill, SB 1387; they included North Idaho GOP Sens. Joyce Broadsword, R-Sagle; John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene; Jim Hammond, R-Coeur d’Alene; Shawn Keough, R-Sandpiont; and Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow.

Currently seven states have enacted mandatory ultrasound laws and at least another eighteen states are considering similar bills. When one digs a little deeper, some interesting details emerge. In a report released by the Sunlight Foundation today, it was found that several of the bills share the same language. Using SuperFastMatch, an automated textual analysis program, it was found that there was an overlapping of text in several of the ultrasound bills and in some cases, entire passages were identical. Sometimes the wording is minutely changed, which causes the program to pass by those passages. However, a little human intervention reveals that the bills are identical except for those small differences. Here are two examples that were cited in the report:

Alabama SB12:

MEDICAL EMERGENCY. A condition which, in reasonable medical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of the pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions. No condition shall be deemed a medical emergency if based on a claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.

Oklahoma SB1274:

“Medical emergency” means a condition that, in reasonable medical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of the pregnant woman that it necessitates the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or for which the delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions. No condition shall be deemed a medical emergency if based on a claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.

If this looks like boiler-plate language has been applied, that’s because it has. As reported by John Nichols in The Nation, the right-wing organization the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has assembled an entire catalog of model bills that are available to Republican legislators in a blatant effort to impose their right-wing agenda on the states. The model bills represent a wish list of the right-wing and they are hell-bent on making their wishes come true. Check them out here: http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

The audacity of a lawmaker who would put forth a bill without knowing what is actually in it should be astounding. Sadly, in the political atmosphere of 2012 there seems to be an epidemic of this sort of behavior that is showing no signs of abating. Republican lawmakers are clearly intent on ignoring the wishes of those they were elected to represent and those who dare to speak up face the wrath of a party that cares more for its own survival than it does for the people and the country it claims to hold so dear.

Republicans are constantly bellowing that Obamacare steals our rights by imposing mandates on all of us. I guess women aren’t included when they talk about ‘all of us.’ One has to wonder what will happen in November when the women of Idaho go to the polls. For that matter, one has to wonder how the GOP will fare throughout the fifty states in the upcoming national elections. Or perhaps they’ve they forgotten that women (who are a majority in the electorate and more likely to vote than men) aren’t the only ones affected by these misogynistic laws. Men aren’t too enthused either.

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