WashPost Editorial Board Dissatisfied with Compromise Decision on Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Test

The Washington Post editorial board is so committed in its abortion-on-demand views that apparently an abdominal ultrasound pre-abortion is too much of an imposition.

In their February 23 editorial, "Mr. McDonnell's abortion crucible," the Post lamented that "Virginia's governor back[ed] down on ultrasounds, but not far enough."

Mr. McDonnell, possibly worried that his vice presidential prospects could evaporate in the intensifying heat and glare of the national abortion debate, has flipped. Previously an enthusiastic advocate of the ultrasound bill — and almost every other measure anti-abortion purists could dream up — the governor suddenly reversed himself and cut his losses. On Wednesday he declared, “No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition” to abortion.

The decision to perform an ultrasound before abortion is a medical one that rightfully should be made by a patient and doctor in consultation. When lawmakers and governors intervene in that decision, they politicize women’s health care. Even now, in its amended version, the Virginia legislation would require an abdominal ultrasound of women seeking an abortion — again, a decision best left to a woman and her physician. Not only that — it would require the woman to pay for the procedure, whether she wants it or not. This from the folks who say the government can’t make you buy health insurance.

To the Post, it's too much to ask a woman to see an abdominal ultrasound before making the final call to kill her unborn child, but it's perfectly legitimate for the government to force everyone to buy health insurance simply because they're breathing.

Of course, the Post failed to mention, just as their correspondent Anita Kumar did yesterday, that Virginia Planned Parenthood-affiliated abortion providers generally run ultrasounds prior to abortion services anyway.

As former NewsBuster Alana Goodman noted at Commentary magazine's website yesterday...:

...Planned Parenthood policy already requires ultrasounds before abortion procedures.

“That’s just the medical standard,” said Adrienne Schreiber, an official at Planned Parenthood’s Washington, D.C., regional office. “To confirm the gestational age of the pregnancy, before any procedure is done, you do an ultrasound.”

...as well as on Tuesday:

The Virginia League for Planned Parenthood didn’t immediately return calls yesterday. But here’s what it said on the recording for its abortion services information hotline:

“Patients who have a surgical abortion generally come in for two appointments. At the first visit we do a health assessment, perform all the necessary lab work, and do an ultrasound. This visit generally takes about an hour. At the second visit, the procedure takes place. This visit takes about an hour as well. For out of town patients for whom it would be difficult to make two trips to our office, we’re able to schedule both the initial appointment and the procedure on the same day.

Medical abortions generally require three visits. At the first visit, we do a health assessment, perform all the necessary lab work, and do an ultrasound. This visit takes about an hour. At the second visit, the physician gives the first pill and directions for taking two more pills at home. The third visit is required during which you will have an exam and another ultrasound.”

From a health perspective, these ultrasounds are critical. They detect the exact age of the fetus, which often dictates which type of abortion procedure the woman can receive. They can also spot potential complications that could impact the procedure, like ectopic pregnancies. In clinics that don’t have access to ultrasound technology, sometimes pelvic exams can be used as a substitute. But those are arguably just as invasive as the transvaginal ultrasounds pro-choice activists are decrying.

In other words, the Virginia law would merely codify as regulation what is standard operating procedure by the abortionists themselves, it just merely adds the additional requirement that women see the ultrasound and are fully informed as to the implications of the same.

This is an issue about fully informing women seeking abortions, and that is what the Washington Post cannot abide.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters