Doctor: Ultrasound Laws Turn Ultrasounds Into “Torture Machines”

Posted on April 2, 2012

RH Reality Check, April 2, 2012 by Robin Marty

One of the justifications that anti-choice activists and politicians give when it comes to proposing or supporting mandatory ultrasound bills is, “It’s not a big deal, doctors already provide them before most abortions, anyway.”

If it weren’t a big deal, and they really believed that doctors almost always do one already, there would be no reason to put a mandatory law in place.  But, it’s not about the ultrasound, it’s about the chance to insert government into the doctor/patient relationship only when it comes to women’s reproductive choices, health, and lives.  And, as one doctor notes, it’s about turning what is usually just a part of the medical procedure into an “implement of torture.”

Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, a Rhode Island doctor who performs abortions, explains the difference to the Woonsocket Call:
“All this bill does is turn the ultrasound into a torture machine,” Rodriguez added. “You have to start turning the machine around and start describing every little part of the screen, which is hard to begin with and would serve no purpose other than to scare woman and make them change their minds. The result is to get the gestational age (of the fetus), that’s why we do the ultrasound. It’s not to be identifying parts of the fetus.
“For the most part, under 10 weeks, it is difficult,” he added, “you have to have a knowledge of embryology and anatomy to even comprehend what you are seeing. To pretend that we can give women a course on ultrasound images in the 10 minutes it takes to do an ultrasound, it serves no purpose. It is an intrusion in the patient-physician relationship.”

Some lawmakers Rhode Island, too, has proposed a mandatory ultrasound bill for the state.  Unlike many others, they have proposed the same bill for multiple years, but this year sponsors feel it may have more of a chance at passing due to all of the other bills across the country.