The "emergency priority" on the table in Texas government? That women seeking an abortion be required to have a sonogram prior to the procedure. The Texas House of Representatives approved the measure yesterday.
If it becomes the law in Texas -- and it seems as though it's very likely to -- women would have to get an ultrasound between 24 and 72 hours before an abortion. They would view the sonogram, hear an explanation of the image, and listen to the heartbeat, if it is audible.
The bill's author, Republican state Rep. Sid Miller, explained:
We want to make sure that they're fully informed, that they understand the medical consequences, the psychological consequences, and everything involved in the procedure.
In other words, it sounds like Miller & Co. simply fall into that camp of backasswards folks living in another century, believing women aren't fully capable of making a CHOICE on their own. Women who choose abortion must be just so damn clueless that they need this hand-holding ... they must be reminded that the decision they're about to make is a serious one. (Like they didn't already.) Oh, also, women probably can't or won't speak for themselves. Yep, that's right, Miller. That must be because women's brains are smaller than men's.
The reality: As Texas Democrats explain, this requirement is simply further traumatizing a woman who is already in a difficult position. Because, by the way, this sonogram is not the kind that they do on your stomach. It's a transvaginal ultrasound meant for very early pregnancy, and it's definitely "intrusive," as bill opponent Rep. Carol Alvarado put it.
But no matter!! It's almost like the Texas Republicans want to see to it that women seeking abortions are tortured before having the procedure. Because they just keep goin' at it. This is the third go-round attempt to pass this bill. Republicans tried once in 2007 and again in 2009 to no avail. But this year, they have an advantage in the House, so they're pushing it again.
And while this isn't exactly a new concept -- already 18 states have a provision in place that women are either required to or offered the opportunity to have an ultrasound pre-abortion -- it's one that needs to be eliminated, not perpetuated. If a woman wants a friggin' ultrasound before she has an abortion, she will ASK!
In an act of desperation, Texas Democrats tried (unsuccessfully) to add a series of amendments to the bill. For instance, one said that if the woman decided not to go through with the abortion, the state would have to pay for the college education for the child. Another, which also would have applied to cases in which the woman decided not to have the abortion, would have allowed women to get a court order to require the father of the child to get a vasectomy. I admit these proposed amendments are just taking things to another wackadoo extreme. It's one thing to make the point on the floor of the House that if the state government wants to get involved in women's decisions to be a mother or not, they should cough up more funds for those kids' education -- but it's another to try to add it as law.
How about instead of trying to weigh down an already insane, antiquated, misogynistic bill with equally ridiculous caveats, Texas Dems and anyone who trusts women in that state need to stand up and say, "No, this is NOT what is best for the women of Texas. End of story!" Get it together, people. I can imagine there are plenty of other things -- like, say, preventing oil spills -- that should take top priority over this!
What do you think about the Texas ultrasound-before-abortion provision?
Image via Brian L. Romig/Flickr