Will Medicaid fund mandatory sonograms in Texas?

Bethany Anderson over at Frontburner mentions something that stood out to me in her blog post about trying to understand the mandatory sonogram bills in the Texas lege right now. She asked Rep. Rafael Anchia’s communications guy, Timothy Dickey, what gives:

As it stands, the House version apparently requires a sonogram, but the woman is not required to look. So far, apparently, they want the sonograms to be free, but they’ve built no funding into the bill for it. When I talked to Dickey yesterday, he said they were still debating who would pay — and that so far, the woman would, but she’d also be given a list of clinics that offer the service for free, or that accept Medicaid.

Someone help me think this through. The GOP doesn’t want public funding for abortions. Hell, they don’t even want public funding for the 97 percent of Planned Parenthood that doesn’t provide abortions. But they potentially do want Medicaid to fund pre-abortion sonograms? Or they want free clinics to provide the service?

The clinics that would/could provide this service for free would, in at least some part to my mind, be funded by Title X, right? Yes, that Title X. The Title X the national-level GOP wants to defund. And considering using Medicaid funding for a pre-abortion sonogram actually recommends the use of federal money to enable a woman to lawfully obtain an abortion. Am I getting this right? Conservative lawmakers are mandating that women undergo a procedure that at least in some cases will have to be funded someway, somehow, with taxpayer dollars in order to lawfully obtain an abortion?

Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of the Texas GOP legislating themselves into a corner wherein they’ve actually required the public to pay for a part of the legal abortion process. It’s kind of beautiful, actually. BUT SERIOUSLY WTF.


About andrea grimes

Andrea is a journalist living in Austin, TX. She has a master's degree in anthropology and did her thesis work on gender and stand-up comedy. Seriously. Also, she has a bunch of cats. Three of them. Is three a bunch? Discuss.
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5 Responses to Will Medicaid fund mandatory sonograms in Texas?

  1. Serena says:

    I love the logical phallacy in this – super genius.

    • “Phallacy”, that made me giggle. Awesome pun.

      Without man, there’s no mandatory. Especially in this case.

      This is what should be done: Buy stock in Hoover’s, First Look, Roseville, and Isonofocus. When they rise due to this bill, invest the dividends into lobbying efforts to repeal it. Uroboros.

  2. As if it could get more ridiculous … as the debate went on (and on and on), at some point there was a discussion of whether a woman could go to a crisis pregnancy center to obtain a free sonogram & “use” that sonogram to comply with the law. Most were of the opinion that doctors providing abortions would not be willing to risk performing one without having themselves provided the sonogram, which totally makes sense – you can just feel the Lila Rose gotcha for a provider who took a woman at her word (imagine taking a woman at her word) and trusting a consent document provided by a crisis pregnancy center (imagine a crisis pregnancy center deceiving women).

    So, while technically there *might* be some resources for free ultrasounds, women probably would not actually be able to rely upon them, as abortion providers could not be expected to risk being out of compliance by trusting that the requirement had been met elsewhere.

    So realistically, they all seemed to be saying, the ultrasounds will have to happen at the same place where the abortion is performed. That means that either the woman, the provider, or her insurance (which might be Medicaid) would have to pay.

    As if it wasn’t already clear that this bill is meant to punish women and make abortions more expensive. UGH.

  3. Andrew says:

    Hi Andrea, I would like to comment on something if I can.

    I see that one of the biggest complaints from those who support abortion are about who is going to pay for the ultrasound that is performed.

    But abortion clinics are already performing ultrasounds. For example a patient information sheet that Planned Parenthood in Waco uses shows that ultrasounds are already being used (the date on this document is June 2009) and that they are a significant part of the process: “the final decision about the abortion will depend on your medical history, your physical examination, the results of your laboratory tests, the ultrasound, and your wishes.” (Bottom of page 1).

    See link to the document here: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/ppwacoab/images/Central-Texas-Health-Centers/Abortion_Pill(2).pdf

    How have these ultrasounds been funded in the past? Was it included in the cost of an abortion procedure? Or was Medicaid already paying for it?

    • The ultrasounds as they are performed now are already part of the cost of getting an abortion. The concern I have are any new laws that may require an additional ultrasound because of timing requirements and restrictions.

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