State Senator Coleman on Alabama’s Mandated Ultrasound Bill: “It’s Rape”

Another day, another state-sanctioned rape bill, this time in Alabama where, conveniently, the head of the committee voting for the bill is also president of an ultrasound manufacturing company.

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This article was updated at 5:15 p.m., Monday, February 27th to include information on a phone call placed to Preferred Medical Services, which could not confirm the claim made by Senator Reed that his company “does not sell equipment to abortion providers.”

The Alabama legislature is considering a mandated vaginal ultrasound bill in an attempt to restrict safe abortion care, or as State Senator Linda Coleman (D – Jefferson) says “a state-sanctioned rape bill.”

The bill explicitly includes mandated trans-vaginal ultrasound.

In an interview today with Rewire Coleman said, “you can’t tell me forcing a probe into a woman’s vagina against her consent is anything but rape. You can put icing on it, dress it up, but this is the forced penetration of a woman’s vagina without her consent.”

Coleman was outraged over the introduction of the bill. Now that it has passed out of committee it moves to the full floor for debate and vote, “This is the most important thing we are dealing with in Alabama, regulating a woman’s vagina? As a woman I am outraged.”

Coleman was the sole dissenting voice during during the Senate Health Committee’s debate over SB 12.

Coleman said SB 12 needs more media heat and light, “the best thing to happen to this bill is the media got ahold of it.” A Facebook page against SB12 has popped up and already has over 1,000 group members.

Senator Coleman said that there has been no public hearing on this bill.  (Anyone living in Alabama can demand a public hearing by calling or emailing their Senator or Representative, or you can click here to contact the Senate leadership).  

She feels this is because the Alabama GOP has a clear anti-choice agenda and she anticipates SB 12 to pass through the senate and subsequently the house like “a knife through butter.”

Citing the unforseen problems with Alabama’s anti-immigration law as a prologue on government overreach, Coleman believes the state-sanctioned rape bill could likewise cause unintended consequences.  For example the Senator said,  “What if a woman is fighting the probe?  Is the state going to drug her?  Are they going to tie her down? How far can we go?”

Coleman also said the committee Chairman, Senator Greg Reed is, conveniently, president of a company that makes ultrasound equipment. Senator Reed denies that his company, Preferred Medical Services, will profit at all from the state-sanctioned rape bill because, he says, his company doesn’t do business with abortion providers:

The chairman of the Alabama Senate Health Committee said he doesn’t see a conflict of interest between his support for a bill that would require physicians to perform ultrasounds on women seeking abortions and his company, which sells the type of equipment the bill would require.

Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper, voted to move Senate Bill 12 out of committee last week because he said it’s a good bill that would help “a mother to understand that a live baby is inside her body.”

But there’s no chance Preferred Medical Systems, where Reed is vice president, would benefit, he said. It is the company’s policy not to do business with abortion providers, Reed said.

“I do not sell ultrasound equipment in my business to clinics that are abortion clinics,” he said recently. According to campaign information, Preferred Medical Systems sells diagnostic medical equipment in five states.  

The bill from Clay Scofield, R-Guntersville, passed out of committee with a vote of 4-to-1 last week. Senator Coleman was the only vote against it. 

A call to Preferred Medical Systems could not confirm if the organization sells to abortion providers or not.  The receptionist said she had “no idea” if the company has a policy barring the sale of its equipment to clinics that provide abortions.  However she said she would try to locate the right person to speak with for clarification on what Senator Reed says is company policy.  

Coleman takes this bill very personally citing her personal reaction if she were forced by the state of Alabama into getting a vaginal probe, “I would be fighting right on down to the end – to me for someone to insert something in me and I say no I don’t want this, I would be fighting to the end.”