Mike Pence has barely been the Governor of Indiana for a month and he already wants to be a worse “Governor Ultrasound” than Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. One invasive transvaginal ultrasound is bad enough, but Pence and his fellow Indiana Republicans want to force women to go through not one, but TWO of them.
SB 381 forces women to undergo an invasive transvaginal probe in order to be prescribed abortion pills such as RU-486. The word “transvaginal” does not appear in the text of the bill, but in order to detect the fetus during the first few weeks of a pregnancy, a transvaginal ultrasound would most certainly be required for a physician to follow the law. But women who want an abortion pill won’t just be forced to get one transvaginal ultrasound, they could be hounded by their physician to get a SECOND transvaginal ultrasound after the abortion.
According to the Indianapolis Star:
“Under the bill, any physician prescribing an abortion-inducing drug would have to do an examination, including an ultrasound, and schedule a follow-up appointment that includes a second ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy was terminated. While the woman is not required to keep that appointment, the physician must make a “reasonable effort” to ensure she does.”
When a woman goes to the clinic to end an unwanted pregnancy, she wants to get it over with and move on. What a woman does NOT want is to have a several inches long probe inserted into her vagina by order the of state that is supposed to protect her privacy. Being forced to get such a procedure amounts to state sanctioned rape, and Indiana Republicans want to put women through it twice.
But the bill does more than violate the privacy of women. The bill will also put a tremendous strain on abortion clinics because it “requires any clinic that dispenses the drug known as RU-486 to meet the same requirements as a clinic that performs surgical abortions though physicians’ offices would be exempt.” This means “the clinic would have to widen hallways and doorways to meet state specifications for surgery and install anesthesia, surgical and sterilization equipment,” all of which would be costly.
Republicans in Indiana seem to be trying to close clinics the same way other states such as Mississippi and North Dakota are trying to do. Clinic closures would strip women of vital care beyond just that of abortion. Many clinics provide breast exams, pap smears, and other care that low income women could not afford otherwise. In their effort to ban abortion, Republicans are literally willing to not only violate a woman’s body and privacy, but are also willing to sacrifice the overall health of women.