Mich. GOP Leaders Reject Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill; Sponsor Considers Amendments

February 11, 2013 — Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger (R) and Gov. Rick Snyder (R) on Wednesday said they are not interested in passing legislation that would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound, TPMDC reports.

Bolger and Snyder made the statements in response to an outcry from Democrats and reproductive-rights groups over a bill (HB 4187) by state Rep. Joel Johnson (R) (Kapur, TPMDC, 2/7).

Bolger said, "While I want to be sure women have access to the best technology available, I have absolutely no interest in forcing a woman to have a transvaginal ultrasound," adding, "This House of Representatives will not pass a bill mandating transvaginal ultrasounds" (Rayfield, Salon, 2/7).

In an email, Bolger spokesperson Ari Adler noted that reporters have questioned why Bolger's statement did not address the "specific bill" in question. "The [transvaginal ultrasound] mandate is unacceptable, regardless of who the sponsor is or what bill number the legislation carries," Adler said.

House Minority Leader Tim Greimel (D) on Thursday said he "commends Speaker Bolger for standing up to the extremist right wing members of his caucus and rejecting this proposal to force women to undergo an invasive procedure that is unnecessary and unwarranted" (TPMDC, 2/7).

In a separate statement, a spokesperson for the governor said Snyder "is not at all supportive of this legislation and has zero interest in seeing it come to his desk" (Salon, 2/7).

Possible Amendment

Despite the statements from Bolger and Snyder, the bill does not appear to be dead, the Washington Post's "Post Politics" reports. Johnson has said that he is open to amending the legislation so that transvaginal ultrasounds are not required (Blake, "Post Politics," Washington Post, 2/7). Requiring a transvaginal ultrasound "has never been the intent of the bill," according to Johnson aide Ben Frederick (TPMDC, 2/7).