Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, the fearless leader who took two years to investigate serious allegations of child rape at his state university, doesn't get what all the fuss about this proposed ultrasound abortion bill is about. When women are forced to sit through a screening of their fetus' ultrasound, he suggests, they can just close their eyes.
Corbett supports the Woman's Right to Know Act—a bill, passed in Texas in February, that requires patients to undergo ultrasounds, see two copies of the image, and listen to a doctor "play and describe" the fetal heartbeat." The governor has already publicly stated his support of the bill, and he stood by it during questioning yesterday:
Corbett: ...As long as it's not obtrusive, but we're still waiting to see.
Reporter: Making them watch... does that go too far?
Corbett: I'm not making anybody watch. OK? Because you just have to close your eyes. But as long as it's exterior, not interior. OK?
Sure. Just close your eyes, and pretend it's not happening. But let's see how that works out in real life, as described in detail by Carolyn Jones in the Texas Observer yesterday. Jones and her husband decided to terminate their second pregnancy after learning that their son—"if he were to make it to term"—would not physically develop normally and "would suffer greatly" during "a lifetime of medical care." They decided to go forward with the procedure just weeks after Texas passed the ultrasound bill:
The doctor and nurse were professional and kind, and it was clear that they understood our sorrow. They too apologized for what they had to do next. For the third time that day, I exposed my stomach to an ultrasound machine, and we saw images of our sick child forming in blurred outlines on the screen.
"I'm so sorry that I have to do this," the doctor told us, "but if I don't, I can lose my license." Before he could even start to describe our baby, I began to sob until I could barely breathe. Somewhere, a nurse cranked up the volume on a radio, allowing the inane pronouncements of a DJ to dull the doctor's voice. Still, despite the noise, I heard him. His unwelcome words echoed off sterile walls while I, trapped on a bed, my feet in stirrups, twisted away from his voice.
"Here I see a well-developed diaphragm and here I see four healthy chambers of the heart..."
I closed my eyes and waited for it to end, as one waits for the car to stop rolling at the end of a terrible accident.
Just close your eyes.