As troubling as it has been to see both state and federal governments declare a war on women's reproductive rights these past few months, it seems the tides might be turning. Now, I'm not about to go and get my hopes up, because anything could happen, but it looks like lawmakers are beginning to understand that laws forcing women to have ultrasounds before abortions and requiring doctors to read particular language to these women simply violate our constitutional rights.
For instance, take what's going on in Oklahoma today. A judge struck down a state law which required doctors to put an image of the ultrasound in front of the woman and give her a detailed description of the fetus. The judge said the law was unconstitutional, because it violated doctors' First Amendment rights by forcing them to read speech written by lawmakers. Yup, definitely a problem!
Thank goodness it seems as though what just happened in Oklahoma reflects a positive trend. Several similar, troubling state laws are falling or have fallen apart. Idaho's pre-abortion sonogram law died Tuesday; Pennsylvania's similar measure stalled after the medical community balked (but that didn't stop Governor Tom Corbett from saying "you just have to close your eyes" while the ultrasound is performed ... ugh!); and in Georgia, a bill to restrict abortions after 20 weeks is dead in the water.
Good news all around! Even for those who think an ultrasound before an abortion is no big deal, the principle of the matter is what should scare all women, all doctors, and all Americans, for that matter. We need government to help run public schools, regulate industry to protect the environment, get us our mail, etc., but it doesn't belong in our bedrooms or hovering around in our doctor's offices. Legislation like these ultrasound bills and laws create a frightening, slippery slope, opening the door for government to get involved when and where it is simply not appropriate.
As the president for the Center for Reproductive Rights put it, "Women have a fundamental right to make their own choices about their reproductive health, and ... government has no place in their decisions." YES. The time has come for government to stop overstepping and turn their attention to creating laws that are actually constitutional.
Are you happy to hear these ultrasound abortion laws are dead or dying?