Wow, this mandatory ultrasound trend is really catching on… Legislators in Pennsylvania have recently introduced a bill that will require providers perform an ultrasound on their patients at least 24 hours prior to performing an abortion. They will also have to give patients a sealed picture of the ultrasound as well as offer to let her hear a heartbeat if one is audible. At least this law won’t require the patient to actually look at it or force her to hear a description of it, but it is still demeaning in nature.
Requiring an ultrasound 24 hours before a procedure, so a patient can “think over the decision” implies that there was no thought in the first place. Women don’t just wake up and decide “hey, I’m going to have an abortion today!” Some women make the decision faster than others, they know before even realizing they are pregnant that having a baby at this point in their lives isn’t an option so they know they want an abortion. Some women have to take their time with it, determine if a baby can fit into their lives or not after becoming pregnant. Either way, they have thought about it. They understand they are ending a pregnancy. Even if somehow a pregnant woman didn’t realize having an abortion ends a pregnancy (which is ludicrous to think, but for arguments sake let’s pretend) the state of Pennsylvania already requires counseling 24 hours in advance, so the patient understands what an abortion is.
It’s patronizing to treat women as though they aren’t capable of making decision about their own bodies. Though the bill has 112 co-sponsors, which is enough to get it passed in the house, not everyone is on board with the bill. According to Philadelphia Weekly, Rep. Babette Josephs from Philadelphia had this to say about it: “I’m shocked at the people whose names are on this… They assume—all of them—that women are either childish, frivolous, brainless, stupid or evil.”
The introduction of the bill follows the “We’ve Had Enough” protest at the end of September during which state residents demanded state law makers stop attacking women’s rights and start focusing on other issues. Clearly they weren’t listening.