The Idaho senate passed a bill that will require women to undergo invasive, expensive medically-unnecessary mandatory ultrasounds if they wish to terminate a pregnancy, and the House is expected to follow suit. But before they vote, they’re being invited by a state crisis pregnancy center to let the fetuses “speak for themselves.”
Yes, just like in Ohio prior to the “heartbeat” House vote, Idaho House members will be invited to watch live ultrasounds be performed. According to the Spokesman Review, a woman from each trimester will be brought in to show how an ultrasound is performed, what the fetus looks like, and what the women will go through during the procedure.
Of course, for virtually every woman in Idaho who would be seeking to terminate a pregnancy, there would be no second or third trimester fetus involved, so having those women’s fetuses “testify” is simple “look, it’s a baby and it looks like a baby!” theatrics. Over 90 percent of all abortions are performed in the first trimester, and the majority of thsoe before eight weeks gestation, before the embryo (or fetus after nine weeks) even has discernible features.
Which leads to the most obvious question — when they perform a first trimester ultrasound, how far along will the woman be? A vast number of abortions would be done at a point in which an abdominal ultrasound would not provide the detail or the heart beat sounds required by law. But what are the odds that the House is going to be shown exactly what goes on during a trans-vaginal ultrasound, especially since that won’t provide the instantly recognizable features everyone has grown to expect from the proliferation of 20 week anatomy scan ultrasounds all over the internet?
There’s two different ways this first trimester scan can go–with a 10 week or earlier ultrasound that would either have to be performed vaginally or fail to show the legally-mandated detail required by the law that the House is to vote on, or with a very late first trimester ultrasound, done abdominally, that represents just a small percentage of the women who would actually be effected by the bill.
Either way, the dramatics still won’t effectively convey the most salient issues with the bill, assuming that the Idaho legislators voting on the bill are even interested in the facts: These ultrasounds are medically unnecessary, add substantial expense and time to obtaining an abortion, and are being performed without the non-coerced consent of a woman who wants to terminate her pregnancy in order for her to be allowed to have the procedure.
Like Ohio’s “fetal testimony” theater, it’s a reminder that only fetuses have value, and the women who carry them do not. After all, why else would they allow the fetus to testify when the woman is simply there as the silent vessel that contains it.