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side-by-side images of transvaginal ultrasound probes
Indiana wants to screw you coming and going
Say this for Indiana Republicans—they sure are creative when it comes to figuring out the very best way to stop women from exercising their legal right to obtain an abortion.

Mary Beth Schneider reports:

Women obtaining an abortion-inducing drug would be required to undergo an ultrasound before and after taking the drug under a bill approved Wednesday by an Indiana Senate committee.

Though the bill doesn’t specify that it be a transvaginal ultrasound, in which a several-inch-long probe is inserted in the woman, that’s exactly what Indiana would be requiring, said Dr. John Stuts­man, an Indiana University School of Medicine professor and obstetrician-gynecologist.

Oh, but that's not all. Heck, flirting with the idea of requiring that women undergo a transvaginal ultrasound is all the rage among anti-woman Republicans these days because nothing says "concern for women" like requiring them to have an object inserted in their vagina against their will, for no medical purpose at all.

What makes Indiana really stand out, though, is that this bill, SB 371, would require two ultrasounds—before and after the abortion. The bill would require physicians to "schedule a follow-up appointment" two weeks after RU-486 is administered. But that's not all. Under penalty of criminal and/or civil charges and fines, physicians must "make a reasonable effort to ensure that the pregnant woman returns for the follow-up appointment." And what constitutes a "reasonable effort"? The bill doesn't make that entirely clear, though it specifically mentions "recording in the pregnant woman's medical records the date, and time of the follow-up appointment, a brief description of the efforts by the physician and the physician's staff to ensure the woman's return, and the name of the individual who performed the efforts."

So what happens if a woman doesn't keep her scheduled post-abortion ultrasound appointment? Who decides whether her doctor has made sufficient enough effort to force her? Another doctor goes to jail? Loses his or her medical license? The clinic where the doctor practices is shut down? All because, according to state Sen. Travis Holdman, the bill's author, this will "ensure women's safety." Nothing makes women safe like preventing their doctors from practicing medicine.

It's not as if this is necessary; it isn't. It's not as if this is popular; it isn't. In fact, in 2012, a PPP poll for Daily Kos found that only 23 percent of those polled would support "a law requiring women to receive a transvaginal ultrasound before getting an abortion."

But who cares about that, right? The forced birthers in Indiana don't give a damn what doctors think or what women think or even what the public at large thinks. If you want to exercise your legal right to an abortion, you'll have that probe inserted in your body—twice—whether you want it or not. For your own good.

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Originally posted to Kaili Joy Gray on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 02:58 PM PST.

Also republished by Pro Choice and Daily Kos.

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