The “Woman’s Right to Know Act” sounds so innocuous, doesn’t it? Of course women have a right to know! Alas, when it comes to restricting abortion access, it’s never innocuous.
The “Woman’s Right to Know Act,” passed by a Florida House subcommittee on Tuesday, would require women to view an ultrasound of her fetus before an abortion, or sign paperwork saying she had been offered the ultrasound but refused to see it. Rape and incest victims would have to provide proof that a crime had been committed against them if they wanted to opt out. Because, you know, making some poor teen girl prove she was impregnanted by her father is so compassionate and all.The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Elizabeth Porter, used the typical line about how women need to see an ultrasound because somehow that, and only that, makes them understand the gravity of an abortion. “This is about the right of a woman considering the termination of a pregnancy to possess all of the relevant information made available to her so she can make a fully informed decision,” she told the Miami Herald. “Knowledge is never a bad thing.”
Last year the bill made it all the way to FL’s Republican Governor Charlie Crist’s desk, but he vetoed it on account of the additional cost an ultrasound would impose on a woman when it was “not medically necessary.” The ultrasound bill is just one of 18 abortion-bills — yes, 18 bills — introduced in the state’s legislature. (That sounds impressive until you learn that West Virginia is grappling with 30.)
My hope is that if this bill makes it all the way through FL’s House and Senate to Gov. Crist’s Rick Scott’s desk, he will veto it. Bills requiring women to view ultrasounds before an abortion are intentionally trying to inflict trauma on women in already emotionally charged, oftentimes very sad circumstances. The additional expense of having to pay for an ultrasound also creates a prohibitive barrier for low-income women — who are the ones would would struggle the most affording prenatal care and the possible cost of raising a child anyway. Thankfully, Gov. Crist realized that (or some version of that) last year.
But will the people of Florida realize it? Or will they eat up this line — and that’s what it is, a line — about women needing to be “fully informed”? Oh, you know us ladies: we’re just la di da, la di da … oops, how did my feet get in these stirrups?! Have a little respect, people.
CORRECTION: Gov. Rick Scott is the current governor of Florida, not Charlie Crist. Thanks to commenter HurricaneHolly for the correction!