News and Tribune


March 11, 2013

HOWEY: Transvaginal ultrasound transducer for the masses

INDIANAPOLIS — Amidst all the ribald humor, the yuks, and even “Pope LaMarr I” at the Gridiron Dinner the other night, something leaped off the gigantic video screen in the Indiana Roof Ballroom.

It was a photo of a transvaginal probe, or an “ultrasound transducer.” It looks sort of like a 2-foot-long, hard plastic wand, with a handle and then a long, slender shaft with a round knob on the end. In practice, the ultrasound transducer is inserted into a woman’s vagina and pointed at the uterus. The intent is to produce an image of a fetus in the uterus.

During the stunt at the Gridiron Dinner, the transducer was compared to a mass transit bullet train.

Indiana lawmakers in the General Assembly — mostly men — have voted affirmatively in the Senate on SB371 to require such a probe of pregnant women who are seeking an abortion with the chemical drug RU486.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, a man one might presume has had a colonoscopy, which is really his business and not one I care to spend much time thinking about. And while the invasive colonoscopy is recommended in public service campaigns as a strategy against life-threatening colon cancer, Indiana government doesn’t mandate the procedure. If Indiana government mandated colonoscopies for men, the colon cancer rate would almost certainly dive and scores of lives would be saved.

Holdman also sponsors SB373, which would prevent whistleblowers from taking photos and videos inside agricultural and food processing facilities, an invasive commercial and fourth estate procedure.

Sue Swayze, the legislative director of Indiana Right to Life, told WBAA-FM the goal of SB371 is to protect the safety of a woman. 

“I got pregnant vaginally. Something else could [enter] my vagina for a medical test that wouldn’t be that intrusive to me. So I find that argument a little ridiculous,” she said.

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