Informed consent frequently consists of a fully-clothed conversation between the patient and physician, often in the physician’s office. It is driven by the “patient’s particular needs and circumstances” … so that the patient receives the information he or she wants in a setting that promotes an informed and thoughtful choice. This provision, however, finds the patient half-naked or disrobed on her back on an examination table, with an ultrasound probe either on her belly or inserted into her vagina. … Informed consent has not generally been thought to require a patient to view images from his or her own body much less in a setting in which personal judgment may be altered or impaired. Yet this provision requires that she do so or “avert her eyes.” Rather than engaging in a conversation calculated to inform, the physician must continue talking regardless of whether the patient is listening. … The information is provided irrespective of the needs or wants of the patient, in direct contravention of medical ethics and the principle of patient autonomy. Forcing this experience on a patient over her objections in this manner interferes with the decision of a patient not to receive information that could make an indescribably difficult decision even more traumatic and could “actually cause harm to the patient.” … And it is intended to convey not the risks and benefits of the medical procedure to the patient’s own health, but rather the full weight of the state’s moral condemnation.
I had approximately three dozen transvaginal ultrasounds when trying to have Kick. Thirty-five of them were submitted to willingly, and they were often unsettling or uncomfortable.
One was done at the behest of a doctor I never should have listened to, who demanded I do it before he would consult on my case despite my insistence that he talk to me first. That one was horrifying, and I still shudder when I drive past the guy’s office.
All of those ultrasounds, however, made me feel profoundly vulnerable, and laws like this are designed to do exactly what the judge describes in this opinion: Make a woman who is already there because she has a problem feel like absolute shit for no reason at all. Republican legislatures do this in order to punish women. It’s the only possible reason for laws like this to exist.
And they will not save “unborn children,” either.