Rhode Island “Planned Parenthood Didn’t Help Me!” Forced Ultrasound Bill To Be Debated In The House

Forced ultrasound bills have seen their popularity wane since the Pennsylvania and Idaho debacles, but Rhode Island appears determined to at least give theirs a fighting chance.

The House Judiciary Committee will review a forced ultrasound bill, which would “require abortion providers to display and explain the images prior to an abortion,” although women will get to decide whether they want to look at the display or not.

The bill was introduced by Democratic Rep. Karen MacBeth, who has repeatedly sponsored a similar bill because she claims she was “let down” by Planned Parenthood when she went there as a single pregnant woman looking for resources to raise her child. “I saw Planned Parenthood, and I thought it helped you plan your parenthood.”

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact press@rhrealitycheck.org.

Follow Robin Marty on twitter: @robinmarty

  • mizzpesos

    And I don’t mean to suggest we should get rid of or de-fund Planned Parenthood, so I apologize if that’s how I came across. I suspect that the withdrawal of funding from the organization has led to the decline in quality of services. My story, I hope, will make the case for why MORE funding is needed, not less. The organization provides physical, gynecological, obstetrical, and mental health care to women across the spectrum, including low-income women. It is VITAL that this organization be funded so we do not spiral further into a two-tier healthcare system in this country, where the well-off get top-tier care, and everyone else gets scraps.

  • liberaldem

    Sadly we already have a two tier health care system. 

  • liberaldem

    Furthermore, I doubt that this politician introduced this legislation only because she felt that she didn’t receive supportive care from that Planned Parenthood affiliate.  Her claim could be an attempt to introduce one personal experience in an effort to make this kind of legislation more palatable to other legislators who might otherwise not support such a bill.

    If I sound cynical, well, I am.  While I understand that people hold differing points of view on reproductive issues, I take strong objection to people who want to inflict their person religious beliefs on others.




  • mizzpesos

    So, first off, you should know that I’m 100 percent pro-choice for everyone else, and 100 percent pro-abortion for myself. I have health issues that make pregnancy or birth fatal for me, so I will always choose abortion with no exceptions. Women like me are EXACTLY why abortion rights need to be expanded, not shrunken like they have been this past decade. Shame on ANYONE who tries to take our bodily agency away.

    However, that said, I empathize with Rep MacBeth’s feelings of frustration toward Planned Parenthood. Over the past five years, I’ve used my local chapter multiple times for various health needs, ranging from gynecological care, to HPV treatment, to mental health services (for panic disorder resulting from abuse in childhood, not abortion – I’ve actually never had an abortion, as I don’t have P-in-V sex with my life partner). Over those past five years, perhaps because state funding has been slashed, perhaps because the medical field as a whole has become increasingly corporatized (who knows?), the care I’ve received has gotten worse and worse. On second thought, it was not great to begin with, but I’m older now, and a bit more choosy about my medical experiences, especially since I’m only a decade away from what I’d consider to be middle age.

    Specifically, I have the following complaints about my experiences with Planned Parenthood:

    1. My gynecological exams have grown increasingly unpleasant. I have a tiny pelvis and retroverted cervix, which means the regular-sized speculum hurts, and the typical insertion angle for the instrument during the exam does not work for me. I’ve asked my nurse practitioner to note that on my chart, but somehow, it’s not making it on there, because my pelvics keep getting more rushed and more painful. At my last exam, I was prodded 3 times, as the nurse tried to get a grip on my backwards-tilted cervix, while I howled in pain.

    2. My health concerns are ignored. I suspect I have a mild case of Von Willibrand’s syndrome, which is a clotting disorder (think very, very minor hemophelia that doesn’t mess up your life too much aside from your bleeding profusely when you nick yourself shaving, get a dental cleaning, or of course, get your period.). I also have exceedingly poor pain tolerance (all redheads do), as well as higher-than-average levels of prostaglandins in my system. These factors combine to make menstruation horribly unpleasant for me. Most women would just go on the Pill. But I’m a patient who has migraine with aura, anxiety, and refractory depression, so artificial hormones would either kill me or send me to the looney bin. (I tried them – ugly scene.) I want a treatment tailored to ME – a combination of oral Vitamin K (to help my blood clot), clonidine (to lower tension and help me sleep), and a painkiller that actually works and doesn’t make me vomit like Advil (self-explanatory) for my “monthly hell” so I don’t have to dread four days out of every month.

    But despite my being a long-time repeat customer of Planned P’s health services, and my chart clearly outlining my health problems, my nurse practitioner continues to treat me like a child. Here’s a typical dialog:

    Nurse: “Are you on the Pill?”

    MizzPesos: “No, I’m a migraine with aura and anxiety patient, and I don’t have P-in-V sex because I’m queer.”

    Nurse: “What do you use for contraception?”

    MizzPesos: “Um, how would I get pregnant? But I would use a dental dam or condom for oral sex with a new partner, if that’s what you’re asking.”

    Nurse: “Well, you might change your mind about P-in-V sex, so maybe you should think about the Pill.”

    MizzPesos: “Did you miss the part about my migraine with aura?”

    Nurse: “How are your periods?”

    MizzPesos: “Bad. The cramping is intolerable and I bleed heavily because my blood doesn’t clot. Advil makes it worse.”

    Nurse: “Did you try taking the Advil as directed?”

    MizzPesos: “Yes, and it tears up my stomach, making me throw up. It also thins my blood so I bleed more.”

    Nurse: “Well perhaps it would work better if you took it with food.”

    MizzPesos: “Wouldn’t Clonadine, or Tramadol, or Tylox be the go-to when a patient can’t tolerate Advil?”

    Nurse: “Perhaps we could get you some extra-strength prescription Advil, but you’d have to get the prescription elsewhere.”

    3. The facilities are declining in quality. The waiting room is filled with stained chairs and dirty, torn-up magazines. The exam rooms are cold, the equipment looks decrepit, and they give me a one-ply “exam gown” made of paper towel material to wear. Worst of all, at my last exam, when I went to give a urine sample, the toilet was filled with fresh blood, and there were dirty paper towels all over the floor in the hallway leading to it. Can anyone say “blood-borne pathogens?”

    4. The pay system is whack. Every other clinic in town that accepts my insurance bills me at the rate set by the insurance company. Planned Parenthood charges me the regular fee for the exam, and I have to wait a couple months for the insurance reimbursement check to come in the mail. They shouldn’t tell me they take my insurance in that case.

    It makes me sad that the quality of healthcare I’m able to get at Planned Parenthood has declined. But between the lack of sensitivity to my health needs, the dirty facilities, the uneven care, and the billing snafus, I’m considering leaving them altogether. It’s a shame, too, because they always claim they’re so supportive of women in queer relationships or who have alternative sexual preferences and needs. But every gyne appointment I’ve had there has suggested otherwise – I’ve been treated like a “pre-pregnant” baby machine whose reproductive system needs to be controlled, just like I am by all the private-practice doctors in my conservative Midwestern city.

    I’m all for more federal funding for Planned Parenthood. But they need to clean up their act too, and focus on more than just women who are pregnant and want to be (or women who are pregnant and don’t want to be). There’s more to women-care than planning a pregnancy, preventing it – or terminating it.

  • mizzpesos

    Yes, I totally agree that her pushing the ultrasound bill because she didn’t like the care she got was the wrong solution to her problem. And I hate the Religious Right so much they make me want to put my fist through the wall. (Many Democrats these days are essentially the Religious Right with a different party affiliation.)

    At the same time, I think the organization needs to offer more services and a better quality of care. The logical response from this woman would’ve been to push for more funding and a checklist of services to expand or cover, like pre-natal care, pain management, and better gynecological care for women who don’t want to reproduce. That’s what I would’ve done – and that’s what I’d like to see happen personally. Her reaction was illogical and did nothing to solve her problem, nor will it help another woman who finds herself in similar straits.

    I wrote my little essay because I wanted to point out some of the serious issues I’ve encountered with Planned Parenthood as a service provider, and illustrate why a LOT more funding is needed.  Perhaps Rep MacBeth could do the same as well next time, but I doubt it. Since pushing a pro-life agenda is really what she’s after, she should save her constituents the time, confusion, and hassle at the ballot box and switch her party affiliation to GOP.

  • liberaldem

    definitely needs more funding. Those who can afford to donate to the organization have to continue to support, and if possible increase their support, but also let their state and national politicians know loud, and clear, that PPFA provides necessary services to many women, and needs finanical support. 



  • maiac

    I think you’re making some fair points here. And while I don’t think that your experience of PP is likely typical, that doesn’t mean it’s not a concern. While what PP does is AWESOME, they could, like most health-care providers, be better.

    I think that this is one of the reasons that BS attacks on PP are so frustrating – it prevents us from having REAL conversations about what we need to do to improve the quality of care provided to all women – patients of PP & otherwise.