Here we go again.
Republicans in Michigan are pushing a bill that would essentially require all women seeking an abortion to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound first.
The bill would mandate the “performance of a diagnostic ultrasound examination of the fetus at least two hours before an abortion is performed.” The bill's authors argue that the invasive procedure actually “protects the health of the woman.”
Michigan House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel told msnbc.com in a statement that mandating transvaginal ultrasounds is an “unnecessary and unwarranted intrusion into the health decisions of women. This is yet another example of the Republican obsession with overregulating people’s private lives.”
Now, while the bill doesn’t explicitly say “transvaginal”ultrasound, an aide to Republican state Rep. Joel Johnson—who introduced the legislation—has previously confirmed that the procedure would be required.
This is hardly the first time state GOP lawmakers have pushed such a bill. In Texas, women must undergo a sonogram and hear a physician’s verbal description of what they are seeing (and ask the patient if she wants to hear a heartbeat) before an abortion is performed.
Tennessee lawmakers are also considering a bill that would require an ultrasound at least 24 hours before an abortion.
Such legislation did not go over well in Virginia last year, as Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell ultimately caved to criticism by squashing part of a bill that would have required transvaginal ultrasounds.
Many political observers had figured the GOP learned its lesson about being super-aggressive with abortion rhetoric and policy in the wake of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock's disastrous losses in 2012. But old habits, it seems, die hard.
UPDATE, 4:47 p.m.: Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger says the House will not approve legislation mandating transvaginal ultrasounds. "While I want to be sure women have access to the best technology available, I have absolutely no interst in forcing a woman to have a transvaginal ultrasound," the Republican said in a statement. "This House of Representatives will not pass a bill mandating transvaginal ultrasounds."