First, Mitt Romney dodged questions about a ban on contraception, but reaffirmed his commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade. Then Rick Santorum declared that states should be able to outlaw contraception! Finally, most of the Republican presidential candidates vowed to prevent Planned Parenthood from providing millions of women with health care that is mainly preventive in nature: birth control and testing, plus treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
Equally bad, here in Oklahoma, draconian anti-woman legislation, House Bill 2780, passed the state Legislature in April of 2010 and became law.
The law mandates that a woman or girl seeking an abortion must have an ultrasound within an hour of the procedure. Specifically, the law requires that an instrument, called a transducer, be inserted in the vagina if that method produces the best ultrasound image.
That image must then be described in detail by the doctor to the patient, even if both are unwilling.
Gov. Brad Henry vetoed the bill and declared that “a citizen forced to undergo any medical procedure against his or her will … amounts to an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.”
The Legislature overrode the governor’s veto, but the law has not gone into effect because of a court challenge. The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights is helping challenge the ultrasound law in Oklahoma County District Court.
If these types of laws stand, it’s back to the Dark Ages for women and physicians who treat them.
—Wanda Jo (Peltier) Stapleton
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