Mark Udall’s “Tedious Refrain” Reverberates Louder Every Day

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

As NBC News reports from the U.S. Supreme Court today:

The Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Kentucky law, mandating doctors perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients before they can perform abortions.

The high court declined, without comment, to hear an appeal brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the state’s lone abortion clinic…

The ACLU had argued that the Kentucky statute had no medical basis and was designed only to coerce a woman into opting out of having an abortion. Defenders of the law said it represented a straightforward attempt to help patients make a well-informed decision.

The Hill:

The justices’ decision not to take up the case leaves intact a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the law against a First Amendment challenge that claimed the measure abridged doctors’ freedom of speech.

The Kentucky Ultrasound Informed Consent Act requires physicians, prior to an abortion, to perform an ultrasound, describe and display its images to the patient, and make the fetal heartbeat audible.

The imposition of medically unnecessary procedures to complicate an abortion is the current front line in the incremental campaign by anti-abortion activists to chip away at women’s right to reproductive choice, by making access in practice increasingly difficult–known as “targeted restrictions on abortion providers” or “TRAP laws.”

In the case of Kentucky’s mandatory pre-abortion ultrasound law, early in pregnancy it may be necessary to employ a more invasive transvaginal ultrasound probe, which (gentlemen) is inserted exactly where you think. Today’s inaction by the Supreme Court allowing this law to take effect worryingly presages other upcoming hearings on abortion restriction laws in Kentucky as well as other states.

A few years ago, the threat of such onerous restrictions on abortion rights being permitted by the Supreme Court seemed remote enough that the Denver Post, in their now-retracted endorsement of Cory Gardner over Sen. Mark Udall, arrogantly suggested that Udall’s warning that Gardner would help undo abortion rights was a “tedious refrain”–and that electing Gardner would “pose no threat to abortion rights.” Republican treachery in 2016 to deny President Barack Obama a Supreme Court appointment to replace Antonin Scalia, which Gardner supported, set in motion the historic shift to the right on the Court that has changed the political equation on abortion rights.

But in Gardner’s case, responsibility for Kentucky’s forced transvaginal ultrasound law is even more direct. In 2017, Gardner voted to appoint Trump federal court nominee John Kenneth Bush, a notorious conservative “culture warrior” activist who upheld the law last April in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. That’s the decision the Supremes just refused to revisit.

We know there are some out there who believe the issue of Cory Gardner’s wholesale deception on abortion rights in 2014, which was subsidized by a local press and pundit establishment consumed by groupthink and mesmerized by Gardner’s mendacious charms has been argued to death, and is better laid at Udall’s feet and forgotten. In hindsight, that’s the same complacency which allowed Gardner to turn abortion politics against his Democratic opponent in 2014 despite the state’s overwhelming majority support for abortion rights.

Either way, as of today the time for complacency on abortion rights is over.

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MADCO says:

    Silly, rabbit. Kicks are for trids.

    Abortion doesn't matter and will never be outlawed.  It's just not going to happen. 

    Yet, here we are.
    dozens of states adding restrictions and it’s just a matter of time before it all gets to SCOTUS

    Voter’s rights? pfft, nbd
    gerrymandering? nfw
    institutionalized racism, sexism and exclusion – thing of the past.



    • Genghis says:

      That's "silly rabbi, kicks are for trids."

      There's a bill before the Ohio legislature that would not only criminalize abortion but would require healthcare providers to excise an ectopic pregnancy and implant it in the patient's uterus. I have little doubt that Coreless "No Threat to Abortion Rights" Gardner would enthusiastically support and vote for such legislation if given a chance.

      • harrydoby says:

        Legislators practicing medicine without a license should be charged with malpractice at the least, and felony murder in case the mother dies.

        A bill to ban abortion introduced in the Ohio state legislature requires doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy” into a woman’s uterus – a procedure that does not exist in medical science – or face charges of “abortion murder”.

        This is the second time practising obstetricians and gynecologists have tried to tell the Ohio legislators that the idea is currently medically impossible.

  2. Gilpin Guy says:

    Gardner should also be held to account for voting to confirm Barr.  A worse Attorney General there never was.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      A worse Attorney General there never was.

      I'm no fan of Barr and Gardner should be held accountable but sadly, there have been others who have been as bad or worse than Barr. Harry Daughtery comes to mind. Or John Mitchell. Or Richard Kleindienst. Or Alberto Gonzales. Or Jefferson Sessions. (Sessions was fine with recusal and ethics but he was a homophobe, xenophobe and racist.)

      Barr is just one of many.

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    So, the Kentucky ultrasound bill has been upheld. So what? How many doctors will try to "force" women to watch the ultrasound or view the images? How does the state enforce their law if a doctor says "I'm supposed to show you these, but it's your decision as to watch or view; or not."

    There's almost always a way out and/or around these patriarchal laws.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Oh, I can pretty easily imagine a James O’Keefe, or similar, claiming to be a pregnant woman wanting an abortion, and then making a gotcha’ video, and pressing charges, if he’s not given an ultrasound ??? 

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        The voice would give James away. We already know that no self-respecting rightie, if there are any, would dress up like a trans-gender person.

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          What the hell does self-respecting got to do with James O’Keefe?

        • kwtree says:

          James O’Keefe employs women in these “faked video ventures”. In California, a woman took secret video of an interview with Planned Parenthood Clinic chief , to “prove” that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal body parts. O’Keefe famously dressed up as a stereotype pimp, and sashayed into a Planned Parenthood with a young woman, supposedly pregnant and seeking an illegal abortion. 

          Those videos were shopped around, had millions of views, and shaped policy at the highest levels of government. We had debate in the Colorado Legislature about whether to investigate  the totally bogus “selling fetal parts” myth. We voted not to investigate. But eight other states did.

    • unnamed says:

      Well, from what I hear, the procedure is extremely invasive, which is a huge problem in and of itself.  Also, it's the Government making decisions affecting a woman's body.

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        unnamed: you may be thinking of a vaginal probe, which some of the far righties also want done. I had an ultrasound several years ago before getting my gall bladder out. It's done on the surface of the belly.

        • JohnInDenver says:

          Ah, medical science.  it is a wonderful thing. 

          Since a 6-8 week fetus is smaller and more mobile than a gall bladder, testimony in the trial and arguments in the appeal agree with what was written here:  "In the case of Kentucky’s mandatory pre-abortion ultrasound law, early in pregnancy it may be necessary to employ a more invasive transvaginal ultrasound probe, which (gentlemen) is inserted exactly where you think."

          Gall bladder:  "The human gallbladder weighs 2 to 2.5 ounces. It is about 3 to 4 inches long and about 1.5 inch wide."

          Fetus:  During week 8 of your pregnancy, baby is as big as a raspberry and weighs about 0.04 ounces and measures about 0.63 inches.

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