Ultrasound bill a 'priority' for anti-abortion lawmakers

2013-02-13T05:10:00Z Ultrasound bill a 'priority' for anti-abortion lawmakersJESSICA VANEGEREN | The Capital Times | jvanegeren@madison.com madison.com

The Wisconsin Capitol is a friendly place right now for those who oppose abortion.

That’s the message Wisconsin Right to Life Legislative Conference attendees repeatedly heard Tuesday from the state’s top two Republican lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

“We are in a very good place in Wisconsin,” Vos said. “We have a pro-life Legislature, pro-life governor in Scott Walker and a pro-life attorney general (J.B. Van Hollen). We can all wrap our arms around this agenda.”

And it sounds like the first bill to get a warm reception from Republicans will be what's being dubbed the “Woman’s Right to Know her Unborn Child Act,” also being termed the "ultrasound bill" by pro-choice forces.

The bill would require a woman seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound and be informed of what is visible on the monitoring screen — although the woman would not be forced to look at the image.

“This bill is a priority,” Fitzgerald said. “It is long overdue.”

Under current state law, women are required to meet with a counselor and a physician for a counseling session at least 24 hours prior to having an abortion. The ultrasound would be performed at this session.

“They could see the ultrasound and would hear the heartbeat,” said Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “We will not only save lives with this bill but save women a lifetime of regret.”

As it now stands, many women who seek an abortion in Wisconsin already undergo an ultrasound prior to the procedure, but they are not required to view the image.

According to the website for Affiliated Medical Services, an abortion provider in Milwaukee, an ultrasound is performed to verify and date the pregnancy. Women are given the option of viewing the ultrasound and receiving a copy.

Women may have an ultrasound as part of a physical exam for an abortion performed at Planned Parenthood clinics in Wisconsin, according to a section on the Planned Parenthood website entitled “what happens during an in-clinic abortion.”

Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, is the former public policy director for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. She says requiring an ultrasound to be performed before all abortions would mean an invasive procedure for women who are less than 12 weeks pregnant.

At that stage in a pregnancy, she said, the uterus may be blocked by the pelvis, preventing a traditional ultrasound from picking up the image. Thus, a vaginal ultrasound would need to be performed in order to provide an image for a medical professional to discuss with a woman.

Lyons warned conference attendees that “critics will say a vaginal ultrasound is the equivalent of rape.” She added that “the bill does not require this form of ultrasound.”

But Taylor said complying with the bill, if it is passed, might necessitate vaginal ultrasounds in some cases.

“This is the epitome of intrusiveness,” she said. “What’s next? Are we going to require men to have a rectal exam before being prescribed Viagra?”

A bill that would have required vaginal ultrasounds for all women in Virginia who seek an abortion set off a national firestorm, leading lawmakers to back down on mandating the invasive procedure. Now, Republican lawmakers in Michigan want to require a vaginal ultrasound at least two hours before an abortion.

Taylor said lawmakers should be focusing on creating jobs rather than pushing forward a conservative social agenda, noting the state's dismal job growth record under Gov. Walker

“It is not up to the men, or the women for that matter, in the Legislature to be telling doctors they must do certain things … especially uncomfortable, invasive procedures before a woman can undergo a legal procedure,” Taylor said. “People should be outraged that this is how lawmakers are spending their time.”

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(28) Comments

  1. TKO
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    TKO - May 10, 2013 11:38 pm
    I have had this type of ultrasound done, and albeit not the most pleasant thing, it is not rape and it is also done for other uterus and vaginal ultrasounds not related to pregnancy. Plus it says right in this article that an abortion clinic will perform an ultrasound anyway, so if it is before 12 weeks wouldn't they have to use this method; making the whole argument pointless?

    At 22 DAYS baby's heart begins to beat, by week 8 all organs are in place and functioning or beginning to. People before you go ranting about how it is not a life I think you need to define life; at 21 weeks a baby can survive outside of the womb as a preemie. Educate yourself on 'fetal' development thoroughly before you decide where you stand.

    I support life inside and outside the womb, through donations to great orgs that I believe in, I do not need the government forcing me to do it, I donate to my local food pantry, and other family support programs, because I care about people. Do not go around saying that all conservatives stop caring for babies once they are born because we do not want people to rely on Government, no we want these people to rely on their community to help them when they are in need and to have the opportunity to succeed and get on their feet. Yes some gov programs help this but we oppose it when it begins to get out of hand. We as Americans should be able to choose which charities our money goes to, not have the government take our money and decide for us.
  2. ryanjfpulkrabek
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    ryanjfpulkrabek - March 01, 2013 9:10 am
    Anyone who is interested in this topic should download and read my comprehensive review about abortion ultrasound laws, available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=22134.... It breaks down the constitutional issues and suggest model legislation that would avoid the constitutional infirmities of statutes like these.
  3. fortheloveof
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    fortheloveof - February 21, 2013 3:18 pm
    okay let's cut to the chase. Republicans who propose these ultrasound laws are really wanting to personally penetrate each and every woman who wants an abortion. That's it in a nutshell folks
  4. dancleg
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    dancleg - February 14, 2013 3:23 pm
    Republicans...pro-life until the fetus emerges. Then, that precious life they vowed to be all about preserving is just another burden on society if it ever needs anything.
  5. dancleg
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    dancleg - February 14, 2013 3:21 pm
    So HOW does this bring JOBS?
  6. array1
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    array1 - February 13, 2013 3:01 pm
    Quite surprising that the GOP has not written the bill such as to force a woman to observe the ultra sound.
  7. gobi
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    gobi - February 13, 2013 1:20 pm
    ... AND WHAT ?? C'mon now?
  8. stcroixcarp
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    stcroixcarp - February 13, 2013 12:38 pm
    This bill should also contain a DNA test to determine the paternity of the fetus so that the father could be forced to get to know his child. The father of the fetus should also have to post a bond to ensure that the baby will be financially taken care of from birth until adulthood.
  9. guirkymondo
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    guirkymondo - February 13, 2013 12:29 pm
    GOPs Vos & Fitzgerald want to rape women, literally, with this forced procedure. Nasty, nasty Republican men. Of course, this conveniently diverts the media's attention from a rather nasty little issue related to Vos, his wife AND...
  10. Lumberjack
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    Lumberjack - February 13, 2013 7:56 am
    Exactly! How many of these same politicians have voted to strengthen laws protecting women from abusive spouses or boyfriends, or children from deadbeat fathers? And how many of them support Obama care (or an alternative), which is an attempt in part to provide basic life saving healthcare? As long as they remain hypocritical on these related issues, they have no ground to stand on.
  11. Nav
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    Nav - February 13, 2013 6:45 am
    You are like many people who are turning away from this outrageously extreme Republican party who is out of sync with ordinary Americans.
  12. monotone
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    monotone - February 13, 2013 6:26 am
    I wish Republicans could see that their stance on social issues like these are going to lead to the end of their party.

    I want to be a republican. I really do. I agree with almost all of their fiscal ideology. But because of their insane, outdated, hillbilly, religious nut stances on social issues I vote democrats every time.
  13. geo_
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    geo_ - February 13, 2013 5:34 am
    The Supreme Court has already decided that women have a right to a legal and safe abortion. Those who put unnecassary impedeiments in front of this right are nothing more than American taliban with their sharia law.
  14. Shake
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    Shake - February 12, 2013 10:12 pm
    Right to lifers care about "babies" right up to the minute they are born. Then they become "takers" and should just die.
  15. Shake
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    Shake - February 12, 2013 10:11 pm
    Ratwingers.. OH SO concerned about a dozen cells but would let a 2 year old die on the street without food or health care.
  16. guirkymondo
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    guirkymondo - February 12, 2013 9:41 pm
    So, did Mr. Vos force anyone to get an ultrasound recently?
  17. Meagatronbomb
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    Meagatronbomb - February 12, 2013 8:33 pm
    I don't understand the bill name containing the word "right". Of course I have the right to get an ultrasound of my fetus. This seems to not be a right for women, this is an invasion of her rights. If I wanted to abort my fetus, I should have the right to not have an ultrasound performed.
  18. WI_Expat
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    WI_Expat - February 12, 2013 8:14 pm
    Liberals...always claiming the importance of due process and informed decisions, unless its a Drone on Americans or living babies in the womb.
  19. RichardSRussell
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    RichardSRussell - February 12, 2013 8:00 pm
    "Pro-life" — short for "proliferators"
  20. johnnn
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    johnnn - February 12, 2013 7:30 pm
    They just don't get it. Republican big wigs keep saying they have to rebrand themselves to remain relevant and attract those they've turned away. And then their grand ol' party does this. Right hand, please meet left hand.
  21. spooky tooth
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    spooky tooth - February 12, 2013 7:08 pm
    Republicans you are about to get your lunch handed to you by women. Last time I checked they make up 53% of the US population.
  22. johnnn
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    johnnn - February 12, 2013 7:01 pm
    Laser-like focus on jobs....ultrasound focus on women. I didn't think you needed a college degree to know the difference, but I guess I was wrong.
  23. Nav
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    Nav - February 12, 2013 5:56 pm
    Will the Republicans EVER learn a lesson? Do they not know that a majority of Americans believe in Roe versus Wade? Do they not understand that women happen to vote consistently? Have they learned any lessons from the defeat of Romney and Ryan?

    This attempt is again an attempt for the legislature to push its own political agenda on the people of Wisconsin. Are people now seeing through how the Republicans are destroying Wisconsin values, traditions and institutions?
  24. ManiNami
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    ManiNami - February 12, 2013 5:41 pm
    @irisK: Agreed!
  25. irisK
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    irisK - February 12, 2013 5:33 pm
    What a joke, we have for government in this state. It is about time we go to a part time legislature.

    I hope they are not claiming per diem to attend this conference, because it does not serve the voters at all.

    Go to Minnesota or Illinois to have an abortion. The laws are more modern there.

    I am not at all interested in the private business of strangers, whether they want to have a gun, or an abortion.
  26. AbrahamLinksys
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    AbrahamLinksys - February 12, 2013 5:26 pm
    So if it's a right (right to see unborn child) then its waivable, yes?
  27. Mike_Smith
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    Mike_Smith - February 12, 2013 5:22 pm
    That a way republicans....its all about jobs, jobs, jobs.
  28. Mr LaMarr
    Report Abuse
    Mr LaMarr - February 12, 2013 5:14 pm
    And who is going to pay for this unnecessary procedure?
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