As far as I can deduce from the descriptions provided, it looks like at least 7 of the state proposals would require doctors to specifically perform ultrasounds and at least offer to let the woman view them — or more commonly, to display them in a way that makes them clearly visible to the woman. At least one (Indiana) would actually force the woman to view the images, and another (Connecticut) would force the doctor to supply the woman with an image copy, seemingly even if she didn’t want it. Two others would mandate the mere offering of an ultrasound. And the last is the proposed South Carolina law I’ve already written about, which would update a law already requiring that a woman be offered the chance to view ultrasound images, to enforce a 24 hour waiting period afterward.
According to Mother Jones, 16 states already have laws on the books that require a doctor to at least offer a woman an ultrasound prior to an abortion. More specifically, according to the Guttmacher Institute (pdf), 12 states have laws mandating in one way or another that a woman be explicitly offered the right to view ultrasound images, with some actually requiring that an ultrasound be performed.
And though such an argument could indeed be made, not a single one of these laws or proposed laws seems to have a single thing to do with concern for the woman’s health, or how requiring an ultrasound might improve her safety throughout the abortion procedure. (Indeed, many abortion providers already do ultrasounds on their own for such reasons.)
It all seems to be about the poor little woman who doesn’t understand what it means to be pregnant, or who will surely have a change of heart once she sees a blurry, cloudy image that I’ve never been able to personally make out. It’s about forcing government into the decisions of doctors, trumping science with ideology, and attempting to take away the privacy of women. Indeed, it’s about taking the focus off of women and their rights and yet again putting the fetus, this time literally, right in the front and center of the picture.
And I’m just exhausted, and wondering when it’s all going to end. Which is, of course, exactly what the anti-choicers want. So how do we fight the fatigue in the face of such a constant onslaught?
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