Alabama Revives Transvaginal Ultrasound Debate


Over at Think Progress, Amanda Peterson Beadle reports that Alabama has taken up its own version of the Virginia bill that would have required women—even victims of rape or incest—to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before getting an abortion:

When a woman in Alabama seeks an abortion procedure, she already has to sign that her doctor has performed an ultrasound and that she either viewed the ultrasound image or rejected seeing it. But state Sen. Clay Scofield (R) is pushing SB 12, a bill in the Alabama legislature that would mandate the physician “to perform an ultrasound, provide verbal explanation of the ultrasound, and display the images to the pregnant woman before performing an abortion.” The physician could also require the woman to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound—”in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced”—if she or he determines it necessary.

The Alabama bill advanced out of committee on Friday. State Sen. Greg Reed told the local news that voted for the bill because it would help “a mother to understand that a live baby is inside her body.” By forcing her to undergo unwanted vaginal penetration, that is.

The original Virginia law was scrapped last week after public outcry, but that doesn’t appear to have stopped Alabama from taking up the cause.

Fact:

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.