Sen. Jason Rapert, in an attempt to save his unconstitiutional bill to ban abortions pre-viability of a fetus — a direct contravention of 40 years of federal court precedent — is preparing to omit requiring the invasive transvaginal probe that he had previously insisted for two years wasn’t required by the bill.
Rapert now says he wants the bill to require only an external ultrasound for women seeking an abortion. Don’t forget this is medically unnecessary and is meant only to find the presence of the heartbeat to ban women from having an abortion. Fetus rights over women’s rights.
This would give a pass on abortions for women up to 10 weeks or so of pregnancy, a time when only an invasive probe can detect the early heartbeat of a tiny forming fetus. This is still 10-14 weeks shy of the time period in which the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly said the state may not ban abortions. Rep. John Burris, the Republican chair of the Public Health Committee who tabled Rapert’s bill today, says removal of the probe makes the bill more palatable and that he is unconcerned about the threat of a lawsuit (and presumably unconcerned about the certain loss of state money defending the indefensible.)
This proposed change takes the physical probe out of women’s vaginas but it still inserts the state squarely into their uteruses in a time period prohibited by the U.S. Supreme Court. Do Republicans care about the Constitutional rights of women and their health and medical autonomy as much as they care about guns?
I’m afraid I know the answer. A group that thinks guns in church are necessary isn’t particularly surprising in a desire to criminalize a doctor and oppress a woman who doesn’t want to complete a pregnancy (and often has sound medical reasons, including her health and fetal abnormalities) to feel that way.
A reminder that Rapert is not to be trusted. When he introduced this legislation two years ago he angrily denied that it would require a transvaginal probe in early stages of pregnancy to detect a hearbeat, as I wrote then. He continued to insist that to me as recently as last week. He now tacitly concedes that he was wrong. He was either lying or as sadly misinformed about medical practice and pregnancy as this and other Republican anti-abortion legislation indicate. Neither explanation is a recommendation for the slightly amended legislation.
UPDATE AND SPEAKING OF JASON RAPERT: Gene Lyons has written the best commentary yet on Rapert and his national star turn on a Tea Party video. He makes clear what’s wrong about just about everything Rapert said, while expressing a little personal warmth to the senator who once hailed up the road from Lyons in Perry County. Read on the jump: