Far-right extremists are determined to enact a mandatory ultrasound bill in Wisconsin that would force many women to undergo the ordeal of an invasive transvaginal probe in order to safely and legally terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
At a recent conference of the politically powerful Wisconsin Right to Life group, the state’s top Republican lawmakers assured attendants they would do everything in their power to pass such a law, which would affect women seeking first-trimester abortions.
At that stage of a pregnancy, the uterus is sometimes blocked by the pelvis, which prevents traditional ultrasounds from capturing embryonic images. That situation would mandate use of a transvaginal probe under the terms of a proposed GOP-backed law forcing women to undergo ultrasounds prior to abortion.
“This bill is a priority,” said Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a great favorite of the right-wing tea party, adding, “It is long overdue.”
The so-called “Woman’s Right to Know her Unborn Child Act” would add to current laws intended to discourage woman from ending their pregnancies. State law already requires women to undergo a counseling session with their doctor 24 hours before having an abortion.
At the height of the Republican’s so-called “War on Women” last spring, Virginia Republicans stirred up a media frenzy when they pushed a similar bill through that state’s tea party-controlled legislature. They later sought to distance themselves from the transvaginal probe mandate.
The new Wisconsin law comes at a time when Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is reeling from Gov. Scott Walker’s defunding of the organization. Between April and July of this year, Planned Parenthood will have to close health clinics in Beaver Dam, Johnson Creek, Chippewa Falls and Shawano – all due to Walker’s stripping of $1.1 million in state funding to the organization in his 2011-2013 budget.
Closing of the clinics will eliminate more than 11,400 critical health services, such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, to 2,000 Wisconsin patients.