Sunday, May 2, 2010

GOP Pass Abortion Bill Requiring Women To Have (And Pay) For An Ultrasound To Try And Change Their Mind

If you haven't heard, a recent law was passed in Florida requiring woman to pay for an ultrasound should they seek an abortion in their first trimester.

From an article by Josh Hafenbrack of The Orlando Sentinel:
Largely along party lines, the Republican-controlled House approved the abortion bill 76-44 Friday. The Senate had voted for the measure a day earlier, 23-16.

Opponents called the ultrasound mandate a government intrusion on a decision that should be left to women. "Stand down if you don't have ovaries," said Rep. Janet Long, D-Tampa.

The bill requires ultrasounds for women seeking abortions in their first trimester, when more than 90 percent of the procedures occur. The procedures cost from $200 to $1,000, and doctors or nurses are ordered to describe the images on the sonogram and the stage of fetal development. Women must sign a form if they refuse to view the images.

Republicans characterized the bill as an attempt to give pregnant women more information before choosing to have an abortion. Several Republicans decried abortion and the 1973 Supreme Court decision that gave constitutional protections to the procedure, Roe v. Wade.
While one article from states that "no one will be forced to have an ultrasound," only offered, everything else that I have found regarding the matter indicates that the procedure is required. On top of that, women will be forced to pay for the ultrasound, unless they can prove that the abortion is a result of "rape, incest, domestic violence, human trafficking or a serious condition."

An ultrasound can cost up to $1500.

While Democrats argued that the law invades a woman's decision-making in a very personal matter, Republicans argued that they are trying to use the legislation to make an emotional appeal before the final decision, in hopes for a change of heart. Republican Senator Mike Bennett of Bradenton said that "you want them to feel more miserable than they do on this tough issue." Other Republicans viewed the law as helping provide more information to women, who may otherwise may make an uninformed decision.

What makes this bill even worse is that it includes a provision supporting Attorney General Bill McCollum's lawsuit against the federal government, claiming health care reform is unconstitutional.

I find this law to be wrong, and I am not approaching it from a pro-choice view. This bill is seeking to impose a conservative moral standard on a procedure that is currently legal, and what is worse, Republicans in this instance see no problem placing a financial burden on women who seek a medical procedure that they deem to be immoral. Republicans hypocritically support this legislation while simultaneously attacking a federal bill mandating people to buy health insurance because they believe the federal bill is an intrusion on American's rights, states' rights, and a "tax on living," yet they have no problem forcing women to pay for a procedure unless they can prove they are a victim of some sorts.

While it is my opinion that abortion is wrong and should only be permitted in certain situations, this law goes above and beyond, and is essentially a pre-birth tax. The goal is to force women to pay money to decide whether or not to have an abortion, hoping that the ultrasound will convince the mother to keep her child, while a secondary goal would be using the cost of the ultrasound as a deterrent, forcing lower income pregnant women to carry until full term.
Democrat Adam Fetterman, D-Port St. Lucie, slammed the ultrasound requirement as "red meat" to appeal to religious fundamentalists in an election year. "It is designed to coerce a woman into changing her mind if not scare her away from the doctor's office in the first place," he said.
If Crist truly is a principled politician, making decisions based on the will of the people, not the party, he would veto this bill, but considering he has already upset the base enough, I am sure he will sign this bill.

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