Apparently inspired by Virginia’s ill-fated attempt to force women to undergo an invasive ultrasound before undergoing an abortion, Alabama lawmakers have been working hard to move a similar ultrasound bill through their State Senate.
The Alabama bill — which would require women seeking an abortion to first submit to either a trans-vaginal or trans-abdominal ultrasound, would give the woman no choice of which procedure would be performed, and has been labeled by one state senator as “state-sanctioned rape” — was moved through the Alabama Senate Health Committee last week by Republican chairman Greg Reed.
In a not-so-shocking coincidence, Reed would personally profit from the bill’s passage. He currently serves as vice president of Preferred Medical Systems, a company which sells ultrasound equipment and would theoretically benefit from a law requiring clinics across Alabama to perform government mandated ultrasounds.
Reed says that there is no conflict of interest, claiming that “I do not sell ultrasound equipment in my business to clinics that are abortion clinics.” As political blog Left In Alabama points out, however, Reed’s defense doesn’t stand up to scrutiny:
Of course SB12 will increase the demand for equipment Reed’s company sells. This bill would require a medically unnecessary (and usually invasive transvaginal) ultrasound before procedures performed in hospitals or outpatient centers, not just abortion clinics. A woman with an ectopic pregnancy or fetal death is going to end up in a hospital — and that hospital will require more of the kind of machines Sen. Reed’s company profits off of.
Just like Rick Scott’s mandatory drug tests or Michael Chertoff’s lobbying for full-body scanners, Greg Reed’s attempt to push invasive ultrasounds serves as a reminder: when you see a stupid piece of policy, you can usually find the motivation behind it by following the money.