Last week, Michigan Rep. Joel Johnson, R-Clare, proposed a bill that would require a woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound using “the most technologically advanced ultrasound equipment available at that location.”
Some took the wording of the legislation to point to the invasive transvaginal ultrasound probe, House Speaker Jase Bolger, a Republican, responded with a statement assuring the women of Michigan that, “this House of Representatives will not pass a bill mandating transvaginal ultrasounds.”
While such a statement is a nice surprise coming from the man who banned Rep. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield, from speaking on the house floor last summer for saying the word “vagina,” it doesn’t go far enough.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, which works to ensure sexual and reproductive health for people worldwide, ultrasounds are not medically necessary for a typical first-trimester abortion and can significantly add to the cost of an abortion.
So why is a lawmaker like Johnson proposing women be made to undergo a procedure that has no medical purpose? The whole thing absolutely stinks of anti-choice ideals creeping into legislation.
It’s refreshing Bolger had the nerve to stand up to the far right in the Michigan GOP. But until he realizes the rights and needs of women to make their own reproductive choices without being forced to look at an ultrasound of any kind, transvaginal or not, I can’t consider him an ally of Michigan women.