Thursday, February 17, 2011

Texas FAIL

For the third time in as many consecutive legislative sessions, a bill that requires women to undergo a sonogram prior to receiving an abortion was passed by the Texas Senate. The proposal requires doctors to perform the ultrasound and offer women a chance to see the image and hear the fetal heartbeat, if it is present. Physicians must also give a description of the image, including whether the fetus has limbs or internal organs. A woman may decline the first two provisions, but not the third. Exemptions are granted for medical emergencies, victims of rape or incest, or in cases where fetal anomalies make the child’s survival unlikely.

Now why would there be exceptions granted for such cases? The governing bodies clearly understand the emotional distress caused by the ultrasound procedure. Supporters of the bill claim it's about providing women with all information they need to make informed decisions. Focus on the Family's Jim Daly believes that 65% of women who see an ultrasound don't go through with the abortion. “To be able to put a face on that baby humanizes this process and really allows the mother to connect,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, a Focus on the Family spokeswoman. “Ultrasound is one of the ultimate examples of informed consent because you are seeing what you are giving permission to happen.”

Imin Carmon writes, "an ultrasound in this case isn't information, it's propaganda, and requiring it is based on the notion that women are in denial about their abortions and should be forced to look at an image of the fetus as a tool to talk them out of it." And many doctors say there's absolutely no medical reason for the scans.

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, made a attempt to tweak the bill by allowing women to opt out of all the bill’s sonogram-related provisions via a form; it was defeated. In an approved amendment that preceded Davis’s, a similar form will be given to women of the exempted categories, as well as minors who are receiving the procedure without parental consent, through a judicial bypass procedure. What a pathetic compromise.

It's so obvious that images provided by ultrasounds are being used to potentially dissuade women from proceeding with abortions. Why else the need for exemptions in extreme cases such as rape or incest? I am incensed by the notion that women seeking abortions are whimsical, ill informed, or somehow need the state's "guidance." Texas clearly shows a lack of respect for a woman's right to her own medical treatment and her emotional and intellectual capability to make adult choices.

Sonogram Bill Passes In Senate - Austin American Statesmen
The Texas Experiment: Being Pro Choice In Texas

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