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Idaho Senate Set to Vote On Forced Ultrasound Bill

Written by Robin Marty for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post. When Idaho Senator Chuck Winder proposed a bill that would force every woman to undergo a mandatory ultrasound prior to an abortion, he admitted two things: he had no idea exactly what sort of ultrasound he was mandating, and he had no idea how women would pay for them. Neither issue has been cleared up in the final bill, but that hasn't stopped it from passing through committee on a 7-2 vote, or being sent to the senate where it is expected to be voted on as early as Monday, March 19th (today). Citizens rallied against the passage of the bill as it was heard in the judiciary committee.  One woman brought a petition signed by 4000 voters demanding that the law not pass. Even the judiciary committee itself was divided. In testimony against the bill, expert witnesses underscored the problem with the government mandating an unnecessary medical procedure, pointed out that the cost of the unnecessary procedure would prove prohibitive to many women, and questioned the constitutionality of the bill. Experts also criticized the fact that in order to obtain a "free" ultrasound a woman would have to visit a crisis pregnancy center, the raison d'etre of which is to do anything--including lying to women--to talk them out of an abortion, but that ultrasounds performed in these centers wouldn't meet the legal requirement anyway. Republican Senator Patti Ann Lodge highlighted the double standard of Idaho's far right politicians who are fighting federal government health mandates while imposing their own, saying she was "concerned about the state mandating a procedure when we are also fighting against procedures that are placed upon us on the federal level." But the panel, including Lodge, passed the bill onto the senate, where it was supposed to be heard on Friday but got delayed. Why the delay? Continue reading....