Ask Michigan Not to Force Invasive Procedure on Women Seeking Abortion

Target: Michigan legislature

Goal: Prevent Michigan from mandating transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortion

The state of Michigan has introduced a bill that would require all women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before obtaining an abortion, a move that stirs memories of last year’s outcry when other GOP-led states were considering similar invasive measures. Representative Joel Johnson (R), along with 22 co-sponsors, introduced the controversial bill.

According to text of the legislation, the law would ensure the “performance of a diagnostic ultrasound examination of the fetus at least two hours before an abortion is performed” and requires the woman to sign a consent form prior to the abortion. Although the legislation does not specifically mention transvaginal ultrasounds, Johnson’s legislative aide admits the bill aims to require women to undergo the intrusive procedure prior to receiving an abortion. The bill requires the use of ultrasound equipment “providing the most visibly clear image of the gross anatomical development of the fetus and the most audible fetal heartbeat.” As a practical matter, that requires transvaginal ultrasounds, said Donna Crane, the policy director of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

While the ultrasound is currently optional in Michigan, the proposed legislation would make it mandatory. Michigan’s House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel, said about the bill, “This is yet another example of the Republican obsession with over-regulating people’s private lives.” Similar measures were introduced last year in Virginia and Alabama, but Republicans scrapped the plans after ardent pushback from women’s advocates and reproductive rights groups, which likened it to rape.

According to women’s rights activists, one of the motives of the bill is to set up as many obstacles as possible for abortion providers. In this case, doctors would be required to purchase more and more equipment in order to comply with the law. The Republican-controlled legislature misleadingly maintains that the purpose is to provide “consumer protection” to women and “ensure fully informed consent to the abortion.”

Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, has recently signed into law a slew of measures that generally increase restrictions on abortions, and GOP-led legislatures all over the country are trying to push similar legislation. Tell the Michigan legislature to respect the women of their state and reject this disturbing bill.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Michigan legislature,

The voices of the voters were heard in 2012. Attacks on women’s rights were outright rejected when the nation reelected President Obama, and you ought to honor the will of your constituents. Continuing to push for restrictions on abortion does not bode well for your party, nor does it address any of the genuine problems ailing your state and our country.

You claim that this bill provides “protection” for women, when in fact, it inflicts humiliation and shame on women regarding one of the most personal issues of their lives. The unwarranted invasion of privacy this bill would mandate represents an antiquated mindset hat the majority of Americans no longer wish to abide by. As a nation, we should be working toward realizing more freedoms for women, not toward limiting them. Please reject this bill and continue to work to prove to the women of your state that regulating their lives and bodies will not be a part of your legislative agenda.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: night owl via Flickr

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