Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Signs Forced Ultrasound Bill Into Law


On Friday, Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, signed into law a bill that will force women seeking an abortion to have a medically unnecessary ultrasound. The bill will also force doctors who work at abortion clinics to seek admitting privileges at a local hospital no further than 30 miles away in order to continue providing women the help they need. The doctors will also be required to describe the visible organs of the fetus to the woman. As a result of the new law, at least two abortion clinics could be forced to close.

Talking Points Memo reports that Walker, in a cowardly move, signed the bill behind closed doors rather than in public. The conservative governor has had since the middle of June to sign the bill:

…but decided to do it on Friday in the middle of the long 4th of July holiday weekend. The measure’s opponents accused him of trying to bury news of the signing… Walker did not sign the bill in public, instead issuing a press release early in the afternoon including the bill in a list of 17 other measures he signed earlier in the day.

A note describing the bill within the press release claims:

It “improves a woman’s ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future.”

The problem is that these anti-abortion provisions do not improve women’s health care at all. Not only does the law threaten to shut down all legal means of obtaining an abortion, which will undoubtedly force women to seek unsafe abortions, it forces women to undergo ultrasounds that are totally unnecessary and do nothing to change a woman’s mind about getting an abortion.

A recent study reveals that forced ultrasounds do not deter women from getting an abortion. Indeed, 89 percent of women who participated in the study said that they were “extremely confident” of their decision to get the procedure even after being subjected to forced transvaginal ultrasounds. And since the Wisconsin law only forces women to get normal ultrasounds, it is even more unlikely that women will change their minds. What this law will actually do is place emotional and financial burdens on women who have already made a very difficult and personal choice to have an abortion.

Wisconsin is just the latest conservative-controlled state to hijack the reproductive rights of women. On Sunday, Ohio governor John Kasich signed an even worse anti-abortion bill that forced women to get an ultrasound if they want birth control, and placed an impossible mandate on abortion clinics that could cause nearly all of them to close, among a whole host of other outrageous provisions. And Texas Republicans are currently trying to force an extreme anti-abortion bill through the state legislature during a special session in which thousands of women have come to protest the legislation. North Carolina is also pushing a bill through its legislature. Republicans are waging their war on women like never before and they show no signs of stopping. It seems the only recourse for women trying to stop this war is to show up en masse at the voting booth during the 2014 midterm elections, when there is a great chance to flip state legislatures and governorships from anti-women Republicans to pro-women Democrats who actually give a damn about women’s health and women’s rights.