Op-Ed: Sherm’s Shenanigans

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Jonna Carter

Jonna Carter is a writer and weekly columnist for The Conway Daily Sun. She writes from her home in South Conway where her life is managed by five crazy rescue dogs. Jonna is in the midst of writing a memoir about her life with dogs. Jonna’s column appears every Wednesday in The Sun. This column was first published in The Sun.

       As many who follow state politics know, in September the House Judiciary Committee proposed and was able to pass with a Republican nudge a proposed amendment to repeal the vile ultrasound mandate inappropriately inserted — and itself inappropriate on all grounds — within the state budget. 

       Republican Rep. Kim Rice said of the amendment to repeal, “Considering that this should be what doctors are doing anyways and recommending before an abortion that with or without it in there that’s a best practice and responsible physicians and abortion providers should be doing it anyways.”

       That’s a quote. I’m not making it up. I don’t think I could make this up as for one thing, I’m not altogether sure what it means. I think the gist of it, though, is that she’s open to a discussion on repeal. While I applaud her willingness to examine the issue, I can’t help but wonder if someone who thinks “anyways” is a word is actually suited to enacting legislation affecting 1.38 million people.  

       Another Rep. Republican Erica Layon said, “Women are being told that no matter the gestational age, they’re going to be forced to have a transvaginal ultrasound and that’s just not true.”

       Exactly right, Erica! The bill as written calls for an “obstetric ultrasound” and this can be either transvaginal or abdominal. The purpose of the mandate is to determine the gestational age of the fetus. Of course, in order to accurately estimate gestational age in the early stages of pregnancy, i.e. the bulk of the period when abortion is legal, the ultrasound must be transvaginal.

       Rep Jess Edwards of Auburn, explains, “The ultrasound images can be useful to that mother to connect to the baby that’s inside of her so that she’s better able to make a decision as is (sic) whether she wants to go forward with the procedure.” His genuine concern for the mother-child bond warms my heart! As does the recent bill he sponsored titled “Relative to the expectation of privacy.” The fine print must say “except for women in their doctors’ offices.”

       What House Republicans have legalized and in fact enacted is “state rape.” A statement issued by Planned Parenthood rightly declared that mandating ultrasounds “serves no medical advantage to the patient but may shame and/or stigmatize the patient.” That is precisely the objective.

       Our soul-swapping Governor would like to be rid of the ultrasound mandate as well. Obviously a Republican governor is going to be supported by his Republican legislators. Oh, wait! This is the same gang of fanatics trying to strip him of his executive powers. Never mind.

       Free Stater Jason Osborne, the House Majority Leader, is the driving force behind the extremist Republican agenda, and is reputed to be operating the strings of his very own puppet, Speaker Sherman Packard.

       Perhaps you’ve heard, or if not perhaps you’ve wondered what became of the proposed amendment to repeal the ultrasound requirement. It was scheduled to be debated and voted on last week in 2022’s opening session of Congress.

       In a surprise underhanded move that blindsided those prepared to deliberate, the Speaker was instead planning to (read “instructed to”) nullify it. The committee learned this moments before the bill was to be brought to the floor, and so it was tabled.

       The repeal’s primary sponsor, Rep. Marjorie Smith, called the unethical effort “an unprecedented stunt…(Packard) ruled an amendment repealing New Hampshire’s invasive ultrasound mandate non-germane, preventing it from being voted on…Manipulating the process to prevent debate on such an invasive mandate is shameful and telling.”

       I’m very confused about our state’s Republicans and their mandates. Transvaginal ultrasound can be mandated, but mandating Covid vaccinations is somehow regarded as a bodily invasion? Mandating masks is an affront to Live Free and Die and personal freedoms?

       I propose to mandate that all who voted “Yea” on the ultrasound mandate be required to undergo the same procedure. As the mandate was inserted into the state budget, so should the “wand” be inserted into these thoughtful and compassionate legislators. Any orifice south of the mid-line will suffice. In other words a trans-vaginal, or in the absence of that possibility a trans-anal, ultrasound will meet that requirement. Oh, yes. And they will be responsible for the bill.

       The ultrasound mandate author — its proud papa — is our own “pro-choice” (wink, wink) Jeb Bradley. You know what they say, Jeb. If the wand fits….!

The opinions stated here are those of the author.

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