Ultrasound Bill Unconstitutional, Legislature Must Stop Attack on Women
The legislature has no authority to force women to have an unnecessary, invasive medical procedure
(Philadelphia, PA) –Today, Iraq war veteran and former prosecutor Patrick Murphy issued the following statement in response to House Bill 1077, the so-called “Woman’sRight-to-Know Act,” which would force women to undergo a mandatory and invasive ultrasound at least 24 hours before receiving abortion care:
“We all support programs to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. But this legislation is an outrageous assault on women’s rights in Pennsylvania and an unprecedented intrusion into decisions that should be made exclusively between a woman and her doctor. The proposal is demeaning and wrong. There is no legal justification for shoving an ultrasound screen in a woman’s face and forcing her to deliver printout image to her physician – all so she can get permission from the government to have a legal medical procedure. The legislature has no Constitutional authority to require women to have this unnecessary and invasive medical procedure and,therefore, must abandon this insulting attack on women’s rights. Even Bob McDonnell, the conservative Governor of Virginia, was forced to abandon a similar bill, admitting that it ‘might run afoul’ of the Constitution and open up the state to serious legal problems. If the legislature here in Pennsylvania moves the bill despite overwhelming objections, it is Governor Corbett’s responsibility to veto it.”
University of Pennsylvania Professor of Law Tobias Barrington Wolff agreed that the bill is unconstitutional, saying:
"The Supreme Court has held that a State cannot pass laws for the purpose of obstructing a woman's access to a legal abortion, nor impose undue burdens on that access. A law mandating that doctors perform a medically unnecessary procedure, including the use of an invasive transvaginal probe in some cases, and requiring doctors to position an ultrasound monitor in the woman's face whether or not she wants to watch it, appears designed to intimidate and humiliate. Pennsylvania cannot mandate such mistreatment of women."