Virginia recently became the eighth state in the nation to pass a law requiring doctors to administer ultrasound scanning procedures on women before performing abortions.
The state’s conservative Republican Governor, Bob McDonnell, backed off from an original version of the law which would have required women to undergo physically invasive transvaginal ultrasounds. The final version allows women to opt out of that and choose an abdominal ultrasound instead.
The new law will provide additional information that "can help the mother make a fully informed decision" about having an abortion, touted his statist Majesty, the Governor. "This bill does not legally alter a woman's ability to make a choice regarding her pregnancy … It does, however, put Virginia in line with 23 other states that have some type of requirement that a woman be offered a view of an ultrasound before an abortion can be performed."
"This law is a victory for women and their unborn children. We thank Gov. McDonnell and Virginia's pro-life legislators for their work to ensure that women have all the facts and will no longer be kept in the dark about their pregnancies," crowed ultra-conservative Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
"Ultrasounds are vitally important to doctors when determining the health of an unborn baby. Women considering whether to have an abortion should be just as informed as doctors about the child they are carrying. This law ensures that they are," he gushed.
I’m old enough to remember a time in the far off distant past when the relationship between a patient and her doctor was totally private and privileged. Patients could consult doctors in strict confidence that their private health status would remain secret and there were no laws invading doctor patient advice and treatment. The state had no presence and no business whatsoever in the examination and consultation rooms.
Those days are long gone. At a minimum, these laws will require doctors to report to the state the intimate details of their patient’s medical conditions, and also dictate the form and manner of treatment whether the doctor and patient want it or not.
These laws are no victory for women; far from it. They violate the United States Constitution Fourth Amendment rights of women to be secure in their persons, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches. They constitute unlawful searches into private medical records without probable cause. They amount to an undue and unconstitutional invasion of privacy and state intrusion into the doctor patient relationship.
These laws clearly alter a woman’s ability to make medical choices affecting her own body. They deprive women of their due process rights to life, liberty and property in violation of the Fifth Amendment as well. They constitute a deprivation of a woman’s liberty right to make her own private medical decisions in consultation with her doctor in confidence. They also increase the cost of her care unnecessarily, thereby unconstitutionally depriving her of property.
Lawyers and legislators aren’t doctors. When a woman makes a decision to terminate her pregnancy that decision hardly requires additional facts about the potential health of the developing embryo. Such women are not “in the dark about their pregnancies.” Their doctor is available to answer every question they have.
They don’t need the state to think up questions, advice, and treatment. They’re as fully informed as they want to be. They don’t need to view an ultrasound. An ultrasound is entirely unnecessary unless she wants to rely on one to help her decide. That decision should be entirely up to her. She doesn’t need the state to make that decision for her.
These laws amount to an undisguised attempt by the state to interfere with a woman’s constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy. Governor McDonnell and the so-called “pro-life” anti-liberty lawmakers of the State of Virginia should be ashamed of themselves.
They are nothing more than unwelcome statists in the Doctor’s office.