After praising a new Wisconsin law that mandates ultrasounds for women considering an abortion, Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker had to deal with the wrath of Planned Parenthood. While lying about what the law actually requires, it accuses him of supporting measures “designed to shame and demean” women.
On Friday, Walker spoke about an array of topics, eventually arriving at the issue of abortion and a recent Wisconsin law he signed requiring women seeking abortions to get an ultrasound.
Walker said that once they have seen an ultrasound image of their unborn child, many women will decide not to terminate the pregnancy.
I’ll give you an example. I’m pro-life, I’ve passed pro-life legislation. We defunded Planned Parenthood, we signed a law that requires an ultrasound. Which, the thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea. Most people I talk to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time who’ll get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, you know we still have their first ultrasound picture. It’s just a cool thing out there.
We just knew if we signed that law, if we provided the information, that more people if they saw that unborn child would, would make a decision to protect and keep the life of that unborn child.”
Planned Parenthood reacted fiercely, posting a statement on its website: “Let’s get one thing straight: Forcing women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds before letting them access safe, legal abortion is not a ‘lovely’ or a ‘cool thing.’”
“Transvaginal ultrasounds,” the statement continued, “are intrusive and invasive.”
In response to the Planned Parenthood message, commenters went berserk, with one woman calling the law “government-controlled rape” and another accusing Walker of being “perverted,” and several others proposing that an ultrasound wand—or something larger—be used to explore Walker’s rectal cavity.
All of these reactions were based on a lie.
In its statement, the abortion provider repeated the disturbing adjective “transvaginal” four times, every time it mentioned ultrasound. The Wisconsin law signed by Walker, on the other hand, says nothing about transvaginal ultrasounds, which are rarely used for looking at a developing fetus. A normal, “transabdominal” ultrasound used during pregnancy is a non-invasive procedure that involves spreading a clear, water-based gel on the belly and moving a hand-held probe across the area.
Not satisfied with that lie, Planned Parenthood added another, saying that Walker had described mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds as a “cool thing.” As is clear from the full transcript above, Walker was talking about the ultrasound images of his sons as “cool,” not the ultrasound law itself.
Salon Magazine reiterated both lies, disingenuously misquoting Scott Walker as saying that women “should be forced to have transvaginal ultrasounds,” which he never said, and further saying that Walker called a procedure that involves being probed with a 10-inch rod “lovely.”
Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of Planned Parenthood’s hysterical reaction to Walker’s comments is that most abortion clinics regularly use ultrasounds for their patients even without the law, despite Planned Parenthood’s claim that they are “medically unnecessary.”
Shortly after Walker signed the law, representatives of Affiliated Medical Services, a Milwaukee abortion provider, noted in an opinion piece in the Huffington Post that their clinic has always required ultrasounds.
“If you go to an abortion clinic that doesn’t insist on an ultrasound, you should walk out the door. It’s just bad medicine,” it said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome