Friday, March 23, 2007

Chipping Away at the Right to Choose

Yesterday, the South Carolina House approved a bill that would require all women seeking abortions to view an ultrasound of the fetus before undergoing the abortion. No exceptions would be made, even in the cases of rape or incest. Though other states already make ultrasounds available for viewing by abortion patients, SC would be the first to require women to view them.

Some might think this ruling is a good idea, designed to make sure that women are fully informed before making that choice. But an opponent, Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, said there was no need to change the law, because women already have access to ultrasound images if they want them.

“It suggests that women don’t know what they’re doing, that they’ve arrived at this decision quite lightly, and nothing could be further from the truth,” Cobb-Hunter asserted.

I agree. The sponsors of this bill are not seeking to help women to make a more informed choice. Rather, their ultimate goal is to completely outlaw abortion, but because Roe vs Wade is unlikely to be overturned, their only recourse is to chip away at the right to choose, bit by bit.

In addition to those women who might change their minds after being compelled to view the ultrasounds, we must keep in mind how this requirement would affect those women who don't change their minds.

The price of the ultrasound would be tacked onto the price for the abortion, thus pushing the availability of abortion further out of reach for low-income women. Secondly, the extra time required for the ultrasound procedure, the viewing, and the mandated one-hour waiting period after the ultrasound reviews would result in clinics being able to see fewer patients per day. Clearly, making the viewing of ultrasounds legally mandatory, is largely meant to be a tactic of intimidation.

Things like this remind me why I'm glad to be a man.


No comments: