Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cruel, but not so unusual, I'm afraid...

I don't often write on the topic of abortion, because I have very, very mixed feelings about it. But I have no mixed feelings about a bit of proposed legislation currently making its way through the Georgia legislature.

Senate Bill 429, introduced by State Senator Nancy Schaefer, would require clinics to administer an ultrasound or sonogram before performing an abortion, and to offer the woman a chance to view the ultrasound. Note that the performance of an ultrasound itself is mandatory, whether or not the woman "chooses" to see it.

Proponents of the bill, of course, say that such a requirement wouldn't put a burden on women who choose to have an abortion. The sponsor of the bill, though, wrote this in a recent editorial:

According to Connie Ambrecht, president of the group Sonogram Now, "65 percent to 75 percent of women seeing an ultrasound of their unborn baby choose life." Most women cannot believe their child is so developed.

The ultrasound and the sonogram provide a window to the womb. With all the adequate information made available, women are empowered to make the right decision concerning abortion.

Now, isn't that nice. What would we do without people like Nancy to help us make the "right" decision?

Of the women I know who have had to make this terribly difficult decision, not one needed Nancy's help to take the decision seriously. Not one made the decision without a great deal of soul-searching.

Some chose abortion because they knew they would receive no support from society once the baby was born. If Senator Schaefer is really interested in preventing abortion, maybe she should concentrate on making sure mothers have the support they need after the baby is born. Or better yet, make it easier to get contraception.

But that, of course, would be inconsistent with a political stance that is much more about religion than it is about life.


  1. Thank you. Like you, I have mixed feelings and I've written on the subject ad nauseam.

    This, like so many laws passed by the states and upheld by SCOTUS, is part of the long range goal of the religious right to weaken Roe to the point where it might as well not exist.

    However, mention birth control or sex education to these same people and they shudder. It's about punishment pure and simple. They need the threat of pregnancy or STD to enforce their so-called "morality".

  2. Once again, an excellent analysis of the situation. With a federal budget reconcilation bill pending that will slash the financial support network of the poorest of our citizens and a new Supreme Court Judge that will tip the scales of justice to the dark ages,there will be no place in our society for poor, pregant women to turn. No abortion option and no financial support. Homeless women with babies. Now that's progress.

  3. Access to the Morning After Pill would also be useful. You can purchase it over-the-counter in Canada now. I think that is progressive.

  4. I can understand mixed feelings about abortion, though I remain pro-choice.

    I refuse, however, to take any "pro-life" person or position seriously who isn't also firmly pro birth control, *real* sex education, and committed to improving the quality of life for the living, particularly poor women and families.

    As per the ultrasound: Who's going to pay for it? One's nonexistent insurance? If the cost won't be covered by the state, does that mean that women who can't afford the additional procedure can't get an abortion?

  5. Hmmm, well written and thoughtful. I'd say Nancy and her folks would like to set women back about 100 years.

    My grandmother was born in 1900. She was born unable to own property, vote, divorce, have a say on using her money... and in her case, she was legally beat. When she died in 1995, her great-grand daughter, my Zoey is equal to her brother under law, in every way.

    When Zoey was about 12, I said something to her about men and women being equal. She said, "No they're not dad...." (Pause, while I wait)."Men can't give birth and never will."

    She is free to direct her own sexual and reproductive rights in Canada - no Nancy or O'Reilly or Robertson or Bush is able to take that away.

    Don't give in. I respect your mixed feelings - but don't give in.

  6. I have to agree with you. IF the state offered single mothers or poor families more support, and offered easier adoptions to highly qualified couples, there would likely be less abortion in the world. Bravo to you for presenting this in an unbiased light.

  7. First, let me say that I am a married man, and as such I am pro-whatever-my-wife-says (that's a little joke).

    On the one hand, I can see why politicians would want to disuade women from having abortions. It is a moral choice and there are many laws in this country that try to help people make better moral choices. Even if Americans don't realize it, the internal revenue code is a part of this moral legal schema. The underlying purpose of the code is the redistribution of wealth from those who have it to those who don't. Most criminal statutes are also morally-based - murder (thou shalt not kill), assault and battery (thou shalt not beat the crap out of thy neighbor), embezzlement (thou shalt not steal), perjury (thou shalt not lie), and on and on.

    On the other hand, I think there are more effective methods of accomplishing the same thing that don't involve unconscionable tactics.

    On a side note, there are clinical tests that show that the sound waves used in sonograms actually prohibit cell growth in fetuses.

    Regardless of my personal feelings on abortion, I do feel that it is wrong to even perform the sonogram. Performing a sonogram is something associated with pregnant women and as a diagnostic for the health of a fetus. Just performing the sonogram is coercive. And coercion is illegal.