As Women Rally, Doctor Speaks Out Against Forced Ultrasound Bill in Alabama

Posted on March 8, 2012

Reality Check, March 8, 2012 by Andy Kopsa

This morning women headed to Montgomery, Alabama to protest the forced ultrasound bill making it’s way through the statehouse.  Although the bill’s sponsor, Senator Clay Scofield is reportedly backing off the bill that would require trans-vaginal ultrasound prior to a legal abortion, a rally against SB12 is on for today.

Dr. Pippa Abston is an Alabama pediatrician.  Abston, unable to attend the rally in Montgomery, posted a measured and strong objection to SB 12 on YouTube.  The video is making its way around Facebook and other social media channels and deserves wider viewership.

Dr. Abston hits on all key points of what a forced vaginal ultrasound would do, and articulates it from her perspective as a physician.  Addressing Senator Scofield directly, Dr. Abston reinforces the fact that viewing an ultrasound “didn’t change one mind” of any woman seeking an abortion, that in most cases ultrasound is medically unnecessary prior to abortion and that Scofield’s legislation would cause a doctor to commit physical assault, emotional abuse and by receiving payment for a needless ultrasound, fraud.

This is the latest in Abston’s vocal analysis and opposition to SB 12.  Abston has eviscerated both SB 12 and Senator Scofield on her personal blog.  This is from a post titled Alabama SB 12: Legally Mandated Rape and Torture:

From the woman’s perspective, she is being required to undergo a medically unnecessary procedure before having the right to consent to a fully legal medical treatment.  I believe it meets the legal definition of rape.  See this well-done discussion of how rape is defined in court.  Rape is clearly understood in courts as not requiring physical force—coercion and manipulation alone is sufficient.  An example is given, in date rape, of the assailant saying things like “if you really loved me, you’d have sex with me.”  The woman is not considered to have given actual consent in that case.  So a doctor saying to a patient “you have to let me stick this probe into your vagina before I can give you medical treatment” would certainly be coercion and would count as rape.

Importantly, Dr. Abston points out the trash science, or as I call it lies, oft cited by the right.  She also makes clear that Scofield and others look to fradulent crisis pregnancy centers for corrupted statistics:

To cap the whole thing off, Scofield and his supporters are spouting off some questionable statistics. They are saying that if shown the ultrasound, 95% of women will change their minds and not abort.  I wondered about that number so I went hunting on Medline.  Lo and behold, there are no such data, at least not published in a peer-reviewed journal.  Instead, I found only one study, done recently in Canada.  350 women seeking abortion were asked if they wanted to see the images (remember, the law already says we can request our medical records).  Interestingly, the majority said yes, and they also said women should be offered the option.  How many, after seeing the images, changed their minds?

Exactly zero.  So where is this 95% coming from?  My guess is from pseudo- abortion clinics that lure women in on false pretenses and assault them with pro-fascist techniques.  I say pro-fascist, not pro-life, because I don’t think life has much to do with most of them—it is about power, not the baby.  The unfortunate women who get caught in this trap would probably say anything to get these folks to shut up.  How many leave and find a real abortion clinic?  I doubt if they keep track.  The truth is more likely the result found in the Canadian study—women who have already thought through the decision know what they have decided to do.  If this bill passes, it will be unlikely to reduce our abortion rate.

Echoing the refrain of women across the country who will be taking their outrage against anti-choice bills and legislators to the ballot box, Abston says of SB12, “This is a disastrous bill, on all counts.  It is an affront to women and their physicians.  Please contact your legislators today and tell them that if they vote yes, you will do everything in your power to put them out of office.”

Dr. Abston is in clinic all day and was unavailable to talk but expressed interest in talking to RH Reality Check soon.

Follow Andy Kopsa on Twitter, @andykopsa

Posted in: Alabama