And you though Virginia’s was bad? Pennsylvania Republican Representative Kathy Rapp has introduced an even more extreme bill, which has garnered 113 co-sponsors, enough to pass the bill.
The 22-page Rapp bill would mandate a transvaginal ultrasound, require technicians to provide the patient with copies of the results, make the patient have the ultrasound 14 days before the abortion during which time she must view a state film on gestational development. The only good thing in this bill is that it does provide an exemption for victims of rape or incest and they do not have to have filed a police report. Wait, that may change.
Rapp defends the bill with the usual platitudes about informed choice. “As a woman, I believe when a woman makes a crucial decision about her health and her body, she should be fully informed.” And co-sponsor Rep. Marcy Toepel added, “Getting an ultrasound is a good thing for pregnant women.” It makes one wonder how informed Toepel is. Does she understand that a transvaginal ultrasound, performed against a woman’s wishes, is object rape?
Well, now that the protests in Virginia helped table that bill, it’s time to move on to Harrisburg.
Regrettably, there is only one thing that is going to put an end to these proposals to force women to undergo unnecessary and potentially harmful medical procedures, obstructionist waiting periods and anti-abortion counseling. Thousands of women would have to testify that they knew what they were doing, that they didn’t need any additional information and that they did not make these decisions lightly or heartlessly. The women I have known who underwent abortions did so with much personal pain. They felt they had no choice in the decision, that their lives did not allow choice. I readily admit that there are some women who undergo abortions with very little regret or second thoughts, but they are the rare ones. The desire to bear a child is culturally engrained in our psyches and programmed into our DNA. Even to discuss this choice years after the fact is painful. It might also help to hear from women who were forced by the laws to bear the children of their rapists or molesters, and those women, like the late Jane Russell, who suffered permanent damage from illegal abortions. It took a great deal of courage for Russell to speak out on this issue, to acknowledge to the world that she might have been a mother when she was an adult if she had not had an illegal abortion as a teenager. The national debate that eventually ended with Roe v.Wade was begun by women with the courage to say “I went overseas for an abortion.”
I’m not even sure that a chorus of testimony would break through the religious cacophony, but at least people like Rapp would no longer be able to hide behind excuses about informed choice and would have to admit they are proposing these heinous bills out of religious conviction. Then, and only then, can these bills be fought under the First Amendment as back door attempts to establish a state religion in America.
The bill has already passed out of committee and is expected to be voted on in mid-March. The Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, is a Republican, and the Republicans hold a 30-20 majority in the state senate and a 112-91 majority in the house.