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Michigan Lawmakers Support Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill for Abortions

A lawmaker in Michigan has proposed a legislation that would force women to have a transvaginal ultrasound before they could get an abortion.

Rep. Joel Johnson, a Republican, proposed the bill which was co-sponsored by 22 other lawmakers. While the bill does not explicitly state women need a transvaginal ultrasound before abortion, it outlines that a woman would need a diagnostic ultrasound performed which would determine that approximate age of the fetus.

The only technology available to do this is a transvaginal ultrasound.

“The performance of a diagnostic ultrasound examination of the fetus further protects the interests of the woman seeking an abortion by assessing the viability of the fetus and confirming the approximate gestational age of the fetus, as this information is necessary in order to determine appropriate medical care for the woman seeking an abortion,” the bill says.

Many have spoken out against the bill. Elizabeth Nash, State Issues Manager of the Guttmacher Institute, said the bill uses “mushy” language to dance around the term “transvaginal ultrasound.”

Nash said it will require the use of it as transvaginal ultrasounds are the only technology capable of producing such images.

“[The only way] for women earlier in pregnancy to provide that kind of information is through a transvaginal ultrasound. A transabdominal ultrasound doesn’t show what I think they would define as the clearest image,” Nash said.

Donna Crane, policy director of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the bill “uses fairly standard language,” but said no one should force anyone to get a medical procedure against their will.

Michigan is known for its conservative views on abortion. Governor Rick Snyder signed a law which includes numerous measures restricting abortions. One bill “regulates abortion clinics as hospital operating rooms, requires doctors to screen women for coercion before providing abortions, and bans telemedicine to prescribe first-trimester medication abortions. The bill also regulates the disposal of fetal remains after abortions.”

This latest bill requiring transvaginal ultrasound is similar to ones introduced in Virginia and Alabama, laws that many said was “state-sponsored rape.”



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