Another day, another attempt by politicians to shame and humiliate a woman seeking an abortion. Yet again, the government intrusion pushes right into the exam room.
Today the state of North Carolina is asking an appeals court to reinstate a medically unnecessary, intrusive, and mandatory ultrasound law, which a federal judge blocked earlier this year. North Carolina's law would require a physician to show every woman who seeks an abortion an image of the fetus, describing the image in detail during the procedure. The physician has to do this even if the doctor thinks it would be psychologically harmful and even if a woman says she doesn't want to see it or hear it.
In fact, the state's position is that if a woman doesn't want to see the ultrasound screen and hear the detailed description, she should just put on eye blinders and headphones.
If you're thinking that this law has nothing to do with good medical care and is all about punishing and humiliating women, you're spot on. Major medical organizations, like the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have made clear that laws like this one are the antithesis of good medical practice.
So if they're not good medicine, why are politicians still determined to pass them?
The state of North Carolina made that crystal clear: to stigmatize abortion. The state all but admitted that the law is designed to shame a woman seeking an abortion and to make the experience more difficult.
North Carolina's position is that a woman seeking an abortion should "be a man about it" and "hear what is not pleasant to hear."
Plus, the state says, even if the doctor or the woman don't think it's necessary to view and describe the ultrasound, the intrusive ultrasound law lets politicians send a woman the message that "her fellow citizens" "are concerned about the potential effects of the decision she is making and think there are certain facts she should know and consider in order to make a mature and informed decision about the choice the law makes available to her."
In other words, North Carolina politicians don't trust a woman to make her own decision. Instead, they want to make sure every woman seeking an abortion gets a special message of disapproval in the exam room.
How insulting—but of course that's the whole point. Let's hope that the appeals court sends these politicians a message instead and pushes politicians out of the exam room, where they certainly don't belong.