Seven states have now passed laws mandating ultrasounds — unfunded by insurance — before abortion procedures and, in some cases, requiring the woman to either view the ultrasound images or hear a doctor’s detailed description of what is growing inside her uterus. They call this a “life-saving” measure, because some women with ectopic pregnancies have died after taking abortion drugs. I call it emotional assault. To save lives, women should be given the option to have an ultrasound before an abortion. But mandating it by law is taking away a woman’s right to control her body, her future, and her emotional well-being.
I can state, from personal experience, that the decision to have an abortion is difficult enough without making women pay for unnecessary procedures and further endure emotional trauma. In some cases, the new procedure will force women to come twice to the facility: once for the ultrasound and then again for the procedure.
Whom does this harm? All women, but especially low-income women who cannot afford the cost of transportation to the facility or the cost of the ultrasound itself.
What will be the fallout? More unwanted pregnancies for those who cannot afford the logistics or the procedure or who are so traumatized by the emotional impact of the requirements that they chose to carry to term and deliver a child that they are unprepared for or incapable of nurturing to adulthood.
Who will ultimately pay for the fallout? All of us: more unwanted children and more teen pregnancies put a further burden on our social services and educational system.
A fetus is not an independent person. A fetus lives only because of the woman whose life force and body it uses to sustain itself. A fetus has a heartbeat and fingers and toes, but it is a physical part of the woman whose legal right it is to choose whether or not to give 40 weeks and then 18 years of her life to nurture it. Our state governments are chipping away at that right in an assault on the medical and civil rights of women. It seems that certain states would prefer that women be barefoot and pregnant than the fully independent decision-makers that we are. Are we that much of a threat?
I cannot understand how anyone thinks he can legislate someone’s life choices when no independently living individual is being harmed. We are in the downward slide on a slippery slope.