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What are they going to do next, pin the ladies’ eyes open?

clockwork-orange.jpgLast week, Emily Bazelon wrote an article about a set of pro-life-supported laws that I hadn’t heard of before. Seems that a new trend in many states is to move towards mandatory ultrasounds, with the thinking being that if a woman sees the physical evidence of what’s inside her, she’ll be less likely to go through with an abortion. Fourteen states have laws relating to abortions and ultrasounds. Some are relatively innocuous, requiring clinics to simply offer ultrasounds. Most clinics do this already, and I have no problem requiring doctors to offer one.

But Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma require that ultrasounds be done pre-abortion. And Oklahoma’s law, which goes into effect the end of this week, goes well beyond that:

Oklahoma’s new statute dictates that either the doctor performing the abortion or a “certified technician working in conjunction” with that doctor do the ultrasound, “provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting,” and also “display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view them.” The law goes so far as to specify the doctor’s script: The physician must describe the heartbeat and the presence of internal organs, fingers, and toes. The patient then has to certify in writing that the doctor or technician duly did all of this before the abortion. She can avert her eyes from the screen, the statute allows. Maybe the legislators should have also thought to mention putting her hands over her ears.

This still isn’t as offensive as South Dakota’s requirement that doctors tell women that abortion means they’re facing an increased risk of suicide or suicidal tendencies, but it’s still appalling. What I particularly love about this is the hypocrisy of it all. These kind of laws are usually authored, sponsored and supported by Republicans, who are supposed to hold as one of their core tenants that the government doesn’t get involved where it doesn’t have to. Which kinda runs against these nanny state think-of-the-unborn-children laws, you know?

Bazelon raises raises another interesting effect of these laws:

For pro-life advocates, the dilemma for doctors is all gravy. If the laws make abortion providers feel like they can’t in good conscience perform abortions in light of the statutory straitjacket, maybe already beleaguered state clinics will have to close their doors. Oklahoma currently has only three abortion clinics. South Dakota has one. Also bedeviling the clinics are the time periods set for doctors to carry out the legislature’s instructions. The ultrasound must occur at least an hour before the abortion in Oklahoma, and the South Dakota script must be read to a woman at least two hours beforehand. These waiting periods thus mean that clinics must eat into one of their scarcest resources: a doctor’s time.

The Oklahoma law is being challenged in state courts, and while it would be good to see it get thrown the fuck out, I’m not holding my breath.

| Comments (6)


A friend of mine made the difficult choice to have an abortion several years ago. An ultrasound was requisite prior to the procedure, and she was also given the suicide speech by her nurse. This same nurse criticized her "life choices" and generally caused her feel as bad about her presence there as possible. Today she still feels she did the right thing at the time, but she'll never put herself through that emotional torment again.
Maybe that's what they're aiming for?

The hypocrisy is what gets me. They care so much about the "child" right up till it exits the womb, then they couldn't give a damn.

Another part is that they want to require the most advanced ultra sound which means a vaginal one, not the pleasant jelly on the belly one.

Now, imagine if that's a rape victim sitting in that room....

But forget the Pro-lifers just want you to have the babies so they can complain about having to redistribute the wealth

If we all have anal sex than we don't have to worry about getting pregnant.

A bit of the ol' late-Carlin seems appropriate here:

"Once you leave the womb, conservatives don't care about you until you reach military age. Then you’re just what they’re looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers."

no s--- increased risk of suicides if you put the women through that! i mean, it's not an easy call for anyone. but most people, it's not going to change their minds. most women don't have an abortion because they don't know what a baby is, they have it because they do, and they take that potential child's welfare more seriously than, apparently, "pro-lifers" do.