Forcing a patient to undergo a medically unnecessary procedure is unethical and demeaning, but that’s exactly what mandatory ultrasound laws do to women seeking abortion care.
For most women seeking abortion care, an ultrasound is not medically necessary. Still, several states across the country require physicians to perform an ultrasound before performing an abortion. Some of those states also force a woman to view the ultrasound or listen to the heartbeat, even if she directly objects.
It is worth noting that, for safety reasons, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends ultrasounds be performed only for medical purposes by a qualified health-care provider.1
Mandatory ultrasound laws have no medical justification and are designed by anti-choice politicians solely to intimidate, shame and harass women who seek abortion.
To make matters worse, in Missouri, a woman is required to make multiple trips to her doctor—one trip for the ultrasound and one trip for the procedure. A woman may be required to pay for the medically unnecessary ultrasound, whether she has asked for one or not, and some states don’t even include exceptions for survivors of rape or incest.
We will keep fighting against legislation that violates women’s freedom and privacy. Every woman should be able to make the medical decisions that are best for her and her family.
1 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ACOG President Advises Against Unnecessary Obstacles for Women Needing Ultrasound