Legislators dismiss concerns on abortion (The State News)

Published February 10, 2013, by The State News.

By Kellie Rowe.


Published: 02.10.13| Updated: 02.10.13

After national controversy erupted on a Michigan bill mandating transvaginal ultrasounds prior to an abortion, Michigan legislators dismissed concerns and clarified the bill would do no such thing.

The Michigan Legislature dismissed concerns a new bill would mandate a highly-invasive procedure prior to abortion. Michigan lawmakers introduced a bill this month that would require physicians to give pregnant women an ultrasound at least two hours before an abortion and have the option to see the fetus and hear its heartbeat.

The bill garnered national attention because many interpreted language in the bill to mean women would have to undergo a controversial transvaginal ultrasound, an invasive probing procedure.

Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, countered objections to the legislation and said Michigan’s House won’t pass a bill to mandate transvaginal ultrasounds.

“While I want to be sure women have access to the best technology available, I have absolutely no interest in forcing a woman to have a transvaginal ultrasound,” Bolger said in a statement.

The bill’s author, State Rep. Joel Johnson, R-Clare, said the bill doesn’t necessarily call for the invasive procedure but mandates doctors use the most technologically-advanced equipment they have available to perform the ultrasounds.

Johnson said it was not his intent to mandate transvaginal ultrasounds, and those who objected to the bill misconstrued its meaning.

“They do it in order to bring people up in arms,” he said. “We are looking at updating the language to make it to where people will have no question about this.”

The bill would require medical professionals give women a physical image of the fetus and answer questions about it. Pre-abortion ultrasounds are common procedures at many abortion clinics.

Johnson said a key part of the bill is that women who choose to see the ultrasound do so two hours before the abortion and before anesthesia so they can make a clear decision about whether they want the procedure.

“Getting an abortion is costly in pain, suffering and emotional issues,” Johnson said. “We want women to have all the information they need to make an informed decision so they’re not coming back three months down the road saying, ‘If I had known the baby was that far advanced, I wouldn’t have done it.’”

Desiree Cooper, director of community and media relations for Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan, said she was relieved GOP leaders dismissed transvaginal ultrasounds.

“We never think it’s appropriate for the legislature to dictate the appropriate medical treatment for a patient,” she said.

MSU Students for Life President Lisa Jankowski said the bill would have been a good idea because women often choose not to have an abortion after seeing ultrasound pictures.

“It’s a better way to make sure she knows exactly what she’s getting into and make sure she’s dead set on getting an abortion,” she said.

Johnson the bill will continue to be revised and he’s unsure when it will reach the governor’s desk.

Find A Health Center