AUL’s Charmaine Yoest Debates NARAL over Texas Ultrasound Law

Charmaine Yoest of AUL

Yesterday afternoon, Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life took on NARAL’s president Nancy Keenan in a debate regarding the recently upheld Ultrasound Law in Texas on Fox News.

Ultimately, Keenan’s only argument against such a law is it “forces a woman to have an ultrasound against her will” and that a woman should only be given an ultrasound if she requests one, or her doctor recommends one.  “This is a decision that belongs with a woman, her doctor, her family and her God.  Not, not politicians in Texas,” she lamented.

The funny thing is, if Keenan’s beef is with “forcing” women to obtain ultrasounds, perhaps she should be going after rules already established by the abortion industry!  According to Abby Johnson, former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion-performing facility in Bryan, Texas, “Ultrasounds are REQUIRED to be performed before an abortion. By who? The abortion industry!! Ultrasound laws don’t require anything that isn’t already being done… except these laws help women obtain TRUE informed consent.” (Emphasis Abby’s).

“Americans United for Life attorneys worked on this bill, and I can tell you that there is an opt-out mechanism if a woman doesn’t want to see the sonogram,” Dr. Yoest explained. “What is mandated in the law is that the doctor must read to her the medical description of a sonogram.”  This means a doctor must describe the preborn baby’s physical nature and explain that he or she has a heartbeat before a woman undergoes an abortion, which Yoest calls an “irrevocable decision.” She stated that the Fifth Circuit described denying women ultrasounds as an “abuse.”

Ultrasounds are already required to be performed before a woman undergoes an abortion procedure.  The only difference is that doctors are now required to describe to a woman the image of her child on that sonogram and explain that he or she has a heartbeat.  This epitomizes informed consent, which is something of which major abortion groups are utterly terrified.

Below is the transcript of the five-minute debate between Charmaine Yoest and Nancy Keenan.

Keenan: “We believe that women should have the option for an ultrasound, whether that be a request for one or a doctor’s recommendation.  The problem with the Texas bill is that it forces a woman to have an ultrasound against her will, and that’s wrong.  We believe that the woman, her doctor should make this decision, and not politicians.”

Yoest: “This is an easy call.  This is informed consent at its most basic.  Even the Court said that this is truthful and non-misleading.  Sonograms are the gold standard of informed consent, and I can’t understand why any woman’s advocate wouldn’t be standing up for women to get all the medical information that’s available to them.”

Anchor (Shannon Bream): “Nancy, ultimately the 5th circuit here in upholding this law, physicians have challeneged it because it violates their right to free speech in the First Amendment to be forced to—many of them felt, to push the pro-life agenda, in their words.  But what the Court said is they’re asking to be providing truthful, non-misleading information.  Do you have a problem with that ruling?”

Keenan:  “Again, yes, absolutely because we believe that women should have the option for an ultrasound, if she requests it, or if a doctor recommends it, and in the case of the Texas law, they’re forcing her to undergo and have an ultrasound against her will.  It’s not about informed consent, it’s against her will.  If she wants it, then ask for it.  If the doctor recommends it, then have it.  But again, it is not for a politician, in Texas or anywhere else in this country, to determine what is best for this woman, and her family.  We don’t know their situations, and yet politicians are the ones making this decision.”

Yoest: “Shannon, that’s not actually technically true.  Americans United for Life attorneys worked on this bill, and I can tell you that there is an opt-out mechanism if a woman doesn’t want to see the sonogram, she does not have to see it.  What is mandated in the law is that the doctor must read to her the medical description of the sonogram.  This protects the woman so that she knows that she is getting accurate information from the doctor.  The doctor must read to her whether or not a heartbeat is present.  Why, Nancy, would you not want a woman to know, before she makes an irrevocable decision, the full and accurate information about her baby?

Keenan: “Charmaine, let’s be clear.  Women are very capable of making this decision, and they are very capable of asking for information—“

Yoest: “If they have fully informed consent, and even the 5th circuit said that this is completely truthful and that it was medical information—“

Keenan: “Again, we are forcing women, forcing women, to undergo an ultrasound that they have not asked for, nor has a doctor recommended to them.  That’s wrong, Charmaine.”

Yoest: “What I think is fascinating is that the panel of judges of the 5th circuit said that denying women this medical information was more of an abuse of women in helping them make this decision.  Even the circuit’s court said that taking away a sonogram—medical information— from a woman, was more of an abuse of her right to make an informed decision.  They use the word ‘abuse,’ Nancy.”

Keenan: “This is about politicians passing a law that forces women to have an ultrasound against her will.  This is about these politicians who ran out on jobs in the economy who basically said that jobs in the economy aren’t important and they are now attacking a woman’s right to make this decision.  This is a decision that belongs with a woman, her doctor, her family and her God.  Not, not politicians in Texas.”

Yoest: “I think it’s fascinating that you would bring in the relationship between the woman and the doctor when Planned Parenthood, even in Texas, is pushing having abortions via TeleMed, where you hook up a woman to Skype.  In so many instances Shannon, we’re seeing women not have informed consent.  They’re not even getting to meet with the doctor before they have abortions.  That’s the agenda of the abortion lobby: is to not ensure that women have all the information they need, and the medical care that they need, before making an irrevocable decision.”

Keenan: “Charmaine, we are never against women having options, and information—“

Yoest: “That’s what this case decides.”

Keenan: “something that they request and are not forced, forced, these women in Texas are going to be forced to undergo an ultrasound that they did not ask for, nor did the doctor recommend.”

Yoest: “Sonograms are the gold standard.”

Bream: “We gotta leave it there.  We thank you both for taking part in this debate.  We know it is far from over, we know there are a number of states where similar laws are being challenged.  Maybe we’ll ultimately see you both at the Supreme Court as it’s hashed out there.”