Another affront on abortion was introduced in Colorado’s state legislature last week.
Republican state lawmakers are pushing a bill that would essentially provide the script for doctors who perform abortions, in addition to mandating a 24-hour waiting period between the time a woman seeks an abortion and the procedure.
The bill also stipulated that “a woman has the opportunity to see or forego seeing her ultrasound,” and while that doesn’t explicitly state that an ultrasound is required, it does leave ample room for interpretation. The bill also states that abortion providers “who do not perform ultrasounds put women at risk.”
Once given an ultrasound, doctors would then be required to provide a laundry list of information to the patient, including an oral description the fetus, which the bill actually describes as a child.
Pro-choice activists have sounded the alarm to this particular detail, which they say creates a back door for “personhood,” or the conferring of individual human rights to a fetus.
Some of the requirements are based on murky science. Doctors would have to describe the fetus’ ability to feel pain, for which there is no scientific consensus. Doctors who do believe that fetuses can feel pain tend to agree that it’s not a possibility until late in a pregnancy, when few abortions actually occur.
Abortion providers would also be forced to tell women that if they regret their abortion after the procedure takes place, there are abortion reversal methods available, despite the fact that they haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has warned that in addition to being just as effective as doing nothing at all to reverse an abortion, abortion reversal is potentially risky and can cause significant cardiovascular, nervous system and endocrine adverse reactions.
Colorado Republicans unsuccessfully pushed a bill involving the risky and pseudoscientific abortion reversal procedure earlier this year.
The bill also forces doctors to refer women to other ultrasound providers in the area “with particular mention of those who perform ultrasounds at no cost.”
This is an apparent attempt to direct women to pro-life Crisis Pregnancy Centers that offer free ultrasounds. In a teleconference, NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado director Karen Middleton said CPCs intentionally mislead women with inaccurate information to steer them away from seeking abortions.
At the end of this now lengthy process, the woman would be told that she can decide to not go through with the procedure. All of this is apparently meant to dissuade women from making a choice they had already decided to make.
Last year, when a nearly identical bill was being pushed, then-sponsor and current GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) said that 90% of the time women seeking abortions decide not to go through with the procedure after seeing the ultrasound. He didn’t provide evidence for the claim, which Politifact found to be false.
The only choice explicitly stated in the bill is that between a vaginal or abdominal ultrasound. This appears to be an attempt to ward off criticism from Colorado pro-choice activists, who lambasted a nearly identical bill last year for apparently swindling women into enduring cringeworthy vaginal ultrasounds. But this year’s addition to the bill is something of a false choice given that vaginal ultrasounds provide more information during the first trimester, when the vast majority of women seek abortions.
Republicans in the state legislature have introduced a cocktail of anti-abortion legislation from the anti-choice playbook for the past several years, but the Democratic majority in Colorado’s House of Representatives has rendered their efforts unsuccessful.
The bill passed in the Senate Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs last Wednesday, and is up for a vote in the Senate Committee on Appropriations today. It is unlikely to advance past the Democratic controlled House of Representatives.