Indiana Republicans are advancing legislation that would require women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound prior to an abortion, the latest in a string of efforts by state GOP lawmakers to actively discourage women from terminating their pregnancies.
The provision is tucked inside Senate Bill 371, introduced by State Sen. Travis Holdman (R), which has passed a committee. Although the legislation doesn’t specifically say transvaginal ultrasound, its criteria would effectively require it, according to the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America.
John Stutsman, an obstetrician-gynecologist and professor of medicine at Indiana University, confirmed to the Indianapolis Star that a transvaginal probe would be required.
Holdman told the Indy Star that such measures are justified to protect “another human life.” Indiana’s House, Senate and governor’s mansion are all controlled by Republicans.
Abortion rights advocates were livid.
“As we’ve seen in states across the country, this legislation has one clear motive: to make abortion care as inaccessible as possible. This type of legislation is designed to increase barriers to safe, legal abortion by shaming and harassing women,” said Tarek Rizk, a spokesman for NARAL. “This burdensome forced-ultrasound mandate is only part of an overall bill that is intended to obstruct women’s access to medical-abortion services.”
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.