Yet another state is jumping on the bandwagon to make a mandatory ultrasound taken at least 24 hours in advance of an abortion a requirement for obtaining the procedure. The Pennsylvania House is introducing the “Women’s Right to Know” Act, and the number of co-sponsors, 112, already guarantee the bill’s passage in the chamber.
Via Philly Now:
[Philadelphia Rep. Babette] Josephs believes this legislation is designed to further shut down women’s health facilities throughout the state. The bill is very specific about what physicians need to do (for instance, says Josephs, while the physician is providing the ultrasound, s/he is required to pay attention to the woman to see if she changes her mind about the abortion; not the results of the test) and if any rules outlined in the bill’s 17 pages are missed, “the attorney general is empowered to seek an injunction against the provider. And the injunction will shut down the facility,” Josephs says.
The bill has requirements for both the individual performing the ultrasound and the doctor who performs the abortion, perhaps to intimidate the woman into changing her mind each step of the way.
The individual performing the ultrasound test, reads the bill, will be required to, “Position the screen so that the patient is able to view the ultrasound test in its entirety, with a view of her unborn child, while that test is being conducted to determine gestational age,” although, “The patient is not required to view the screen.” And two prints, in separate envelopes, of the ultrasound image will be provided to the woman seeking the abortion and the doctor performing the abortion, though the woman seeking the abortion is not required to open the envelope.
The doctor performing the abortion must also tell the woman how old the fetus is and if its heart rate is normal.
Oddly enough, the bill provides an exception for a fetus that is “less than 8 weeks along,” but doesn’t explain how that is supposed to be determined without performing an ultrasound to be sure.