Don’t Force Women Seeking Abortions to Undergo Invasive Procedure

Target:  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Goal: To prevent the closing of the one remaining abortion clinic and the mandating of unnecessary and invasive ultrasounds in Wisconsin

A bill currently working its way through the Wisconsin State Assembly would require women seeking an abortion to obtain an ultrasound beforehand and would shut down the one remaining clinic in the state. The bill is a blatant attempt to curtail choice in Wisconsin.

In addition to closing the state’s one remaining clinic and intruding upon the private decisions of a woman and her doctor, the law would also mandate that most women seeking abortions receive invasive transvaginal ultrasounds. Within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, a transvaginal ultrasound is the only way to detect a clear image. Since the vast majority of women in the United States seek abortion services in their first trimester, and since the proposed law requires an offering to the woman of an ultrasound image and description of the anatomy of the fetus, the bill would mandate that most women undergo an invasive and medically unnecessary procedure to comply with the law.

The bill has already passed the state Senate, and is now before the State Assembly, where the Republican majority is likely to pass it. Please let Governor Scott Walker know that this bill will be detrimental to Wisconsin’s women.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Governor Walker,

I am writing to implore you to veto SB 206. It is an unnecessary and unconstitutional intrusion upon the right of women to obtain an abortion. The bill would not further any legitimate state interest, and would in fact harm women’s health in your state. It would also be sure to fail a constitutional review by a federal court. I ask  you to do what is best for the people of your state and veto SB 206.

During your campaign you stated that you opposed putting bureaucrats between patients and their doctors. This bill does exactly that. Not only does it mandate an unnecessary procedure, leaving no room for a patient’s choice or a doctor’s judgment, but it will necessarily involve a very invasive procedure for many women. Prior to 12 weeks, a transvaginal ultrasound is the only way to obtain a picture of the fetus.  SB 206 requires that an image be available to show the mother.  As most women seeking abortions do so within the first trimester, this requirement would force many of them to receive an invasive procedure. To mandate a procedure that involves the insertion of a plastic probe into a woman’s vagina so that she can obtain a constitutionally protected procedure is not just overreach, but state-sanctioned rape. Please, allow women to decide what’s best for themselves and doctors to decide what’s best for their own patients.

The proposed statute would fail constitutional challenge. Since Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, it has been the law in this nation that a state may not place an “undue burden” upon the right of a woman to receive an abortion. The Court in Casey stated that a law will be found to create an undue burden if “its purpose or effect is to place substantial obstacles in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.” SB 206 is such a bill. The provision requiring ultrasounds is clearly to hinder the exercise of a constitutional right by forcing those exercising it to endure humiliation, discomfort, and delay. The provision requiring the admitting privileges at hospitals, which would close your state’s one remaining facility, is also a blatant attack on the ability of women in Wisconsin to exercise their right to obtain an abortion. This bill is an attempt to circumvent Roe v. Wade and to deny women autonomy over their bodies.

If you sign this bill into law, Governor Walker, you will be doing no good for yourself or your state. The law would inevitably be defeated in court. Governor Walker, do what is right, for you state, and veto this bill.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit:  Mike Licht via Flickr

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