Another Right Wing Lie: Planned Parenthood Does Not Require Ultrasounds

Right wing disinformation machine kicks into high gear
Health • Views: 31,821

One thing the right is amazingly good at: circling their wagons around an issue and parroting talking points in absolute lockstep. Whenever a controversial issue pops up, the right wing blogs and media can be counted on to almost immediately start building their wall of noise.

Today, they’re all in unison again, defending Virginia’s slut-shaming mandatory ultrasound legislation by circulating a claim that ultrasounds are already part of Planned Parenthood’s abortion procedure.

First, the wingnut chorus is obviously a little unclear on the concept of consent. Even if ultrasounds are part of the Planned Parenthood procedure, it’s rather obvious that any woman who undergoes one will have explicitly given her consent. This is vastly different from a state law requiring the procedure in all cases, medically necessary or not.

But is it even true that Planned Parenthood already requires ultrasounds before abortions? Let’s check out their website under In-Clinic Abortion Procedures:

What Happens During an In-Clinic Abortion?

It’s common for women to be nervous about having an abortion — or any other medical procedure. But most of us feel better if we know what to expect. Your health care provider will talk with you and answer your questions. But here’s a general idea of how it works and what to expect.

Before the abortion procedure, you will need to

  • discuss your options
  • talk about your medical history
  • have laboratory tests
  • have a physical exam — which may include an ultrasound
  • read and sign papers

Notice the operative term: may include an ultrasound. Planned Parenthood’s policy is to do ultrasounds when they are freely chosen by the patient, with the advice of the medical professional doing the exam.

To equate this situation with a state-enforced law is not just misleading, it’s downright dishonest. But this entire debate over whether women need to be humiliated is just rancid with dishonesty.

For another example, the anti-choice website lifenews.com chimes in with one of their typically mendacious articles: Planned Parenthood Rape Myth Debunked, 99% Do Ultrasounds.

Surveying 72 of the abortion businesses that sold the abortion pill to women, the researchers found abortion facilities frequently use vaginal ultrasounds before an abortion to determine the gestational age of the baby or afterwards to determine if the abortion was complete. In fact 99 percent of the abortion facilities surveyed always or sometimes performed an ultrasound in association with the surgical abortion — while just one percent did not.

This article is packed with lies and spin (“abortion businesses?” “abortion pill?” “gestational age of the baby?”), but notice how they’re trying to muddy the waters by claiming that “99% of abortion facilities” do ultrasounds, then slip in the little phrase “always or sometimes.”

They’re trying to move the debate past the “mandatory state-sanctioned” part of the issue, because they understand in a dim fashion that this isn’t really working out for them among the vast majority of women in the United States; in fact, it’s making them look like cavemen.

Even if Planned Parenthood performed trans-vaginal ultrasounds before 100% of abortions, the bottom line is still that it would only be done with the explicit consent of the patient.

But this isn’t about consent. The “mandatory” part of these ultrasound laws is absolutely required in order to carry out the real purpose: shaming and humiliating women, and making it more expensive and more onerous to choose abortion.

(h/t: allegro.)

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