Elaina Clark, Michigan State University sophomore human biology student, said that women should not have to be convinced or manipulated into making a decision that could put an innocent child at risk for growing up under poor circumstances.
Ohio recently received national attention as it joined eight other states, including Michigan, that require women to be given the opportunity to view the ultrasound of their conceived child prior to abortion.
“[This law] makes it seem like they’re trying to make women feel guilty for what they are doing,” Clark said. “It’s already a hard enough situation as it is.”
Earlier this year Michigan House Rep. Joel Johnson, R-Clare, presented a bill to the Michigan House of Representatives that would intensify the statewide ultrasound viewing law. Michigan also recently approved a bill that prohibits insurers from paying for abortions unless the woman has already purchased coverage through a separate insurance rider.
Genevieve Marnon, Public Affairs Associate at Right to Life of Michigan, said that this bill would take the Ohio law a step further.
“We currently require the abortion clinic to offer a woman the option to view an ultrasound image prior to an abortion, if the clinic uses ultrasounds, but we do not mandate that an ultrasound be performed or that the clinic maintain a copy in the patient file,” Marnon said. “HB 4187… would mandate that an ultrasound be preformed, [which] Ohio does not make this requirement.”
Long-time activist for women’s reproductive rights, Dr. Penny Gardner, associate professor for Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures at MSU, said that she finds the idea of requiring a woman to have an ultrasound done as part of abortion procedure is a defamation of women’s rights.
“It’s terribly destructive,” Gardner said. “It’s something put up to dissuade a woman of a decision that she has made, [and] it is her right and her choice no matter what way she has come to that decision.”
MSU sophomore social relations and policy student Kathryn Maass said that although she considers herself to be pro-life, she thinks it is unfair that male political figures are making the decisions, regarding abortion legislation, on the behalf of women.
“They will never understand the situation or the stress that a woman is put under,” Maass said. “Women’s rights should ultimately be made by a woman.”
Dr. Jayne Schuiteman, interim director of the Women’s Resource Center and associate professor in the Center for Gender in Global Context at MSU, said that anti-abortion legislation, like the one passed in Ohio, could have detrimental effects on the efforts that have been taken during the past decades in the revolution of a woman’s right of choice.
“I think each effort is a chip away at women’s reproductive rights,” said Schuiteman. “I think the ultimate [goal] with anti-choice people is to eliminate abortion altogether and each step is just a chip away at that general overall goal.”
Stressing the importance of having mandated ultrasounds on women in Michigan, especially for college-aged adults, Marnon said many women don’t realize that they are carrying a living being inside of their body.
“Many young people have been told that it is just a clump of cells or it isn’t really a person,” Marnon said. “Having the image of a tiny human in front of your eyes will dispel that illusion and hopefully lead more young women to choose life.”
As a woman who has devoted a large majority of her life to traveling the United States to spread the ideals of reproductive freedom, Gardner said how each piece of intrusive legislation affects her personally.
“If you don’t want to have an abortion don’t have one, if you don’t want to buy birth control don’t buy it,” Gardner said. “But I don’t see why those of us that make those decisions need to be penalized by insurance companies, by the state, by access, by all kinds of barriers put in front of us where we should have a voice to choices that we are making, that are about our lives.”
While decisions on these abortion-related bills in Michigan could be drawn out all the way until election season in November of next year, only time will tell as to whether or not they will become enacted into state law.