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Erin Go Bra-less

saintPattys.jpgI was down in Savannah, Georgia this weekend and, before I get to the legal story, let me just say this. I guess there’s been some dispute over whether Savannah is truly the second biggest St. Patty’s Day party in this country (second only to NYC). For the record, there’s no question. That place was absolutely nuts. I live in Boston, so I’ve seen my share of massive St. Patty’s festivities, but Savannah is something else entirely, largely due to the fact that 90% of the party is compressed onto one riverfront street less than a mile long. Just insanity down there.

In any event, during commercials while watching all the college basketball this weekend, I learned that the biggest story on the local news was about a controversial new abortion proposal. Under the bill, doctors would be required “to offer to show patients requesting an abortion an ultrasound image of the fetus if an image was made.” And I bring this up because the Georgia House approved the measure on Monday, by a vote of 116-54, which means it now goes to the Senate.

Although I’m pro-choice, I don’t really have a problem with the substance of this bill. It’s not forcing doctors to shove the ultrasound in front of the mothers, it’s simply saying they have to offer the choice to see it, if there’s an ultrasound. I think folks on both side of the debate can agree that whether to have an abortion is a pretty big deal, and I don’t see anything wrong with helping to make what is a terribly difficult decision in as much of an informed way as possible. The only criticism I can see as to the substance of this bill is that seeing a fetus image in the ultrasound is highly persuasive. Well, I think that’s kind of the point. I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with allowing women to see at least a little evidence of the reality of what they’re thinking about here.

One Representative, Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, said she questioned whether this would really prevent abortions. And I don’t think it will, which is why I’m ok with it. Meanwhile, I think it’s preposterous when Representative David Lucas says it’l “force kids in the back alley.” This isn’t the same thing as requiring counseling or parental consent or anything like that, which arguably could actively dissaude women from going to a doctor.

Now some other critics said that this shouldn’t pass simply because the state legislature should keep itself out of the abortion debate. I can understand that criticism a bit more, although I’m not sure I agree with it either. Pro-choicers don’t want the state getting involved because that’s almost always going to lead to restrictions, and pro-lifers do want the state to get involved for precisely the same reason. But should you argue for the state to stay out of what is a highly controversial issue just because the state is likely to go against your personal viewpoint? I think the stronger position is to try to get representatives who share your viewpoint, no?

…wow, this post started off talking about St. Patty’s Day fun and debauchery, and really got serious fast with all the abortion talk. Sorry about that. Let’s end on a positive note. Here’s a picture my buddy took of a very drunk young lady wearing a classy “Erin Go Bra-Less” shirt and holding up the evidence that she was, in fact, bra-less: