Answering Objections to the Ultrasound Before Abortion Act

  • Objection: There is no need for an ultrasound to be performed before an abortion.

  • Answer: Ultrasounds are already often used before abortion to determine the gestational age of the fetus. Requiring that it be shown to the woman merely means she will be getting the same information that the physician already has.

  • Objection: Offering ultrasounds to women who are contemplating an abortion is a decisions best left between a woman and her doctor.

  • Answer: The objection assumes that abortion is just like any other medical procedure. In legislatures have presented findings in their informed consent laws that make note of this. reality, the abortion industry is not a normal part of mainstream medicine. Many state. Most women do not have on ongoing doctor-patient relationship with the abortion physician, often the only contact they will have with the physician is the abortion procedure itself. The abortion industry is driven by money, and is not an atmosphere that promotes evenhanded presentation of all the facts of abortion. This is the basis behind most states informed consent laws.

  • Objection: Requiring that a woman be shown ultrasounds is coercive and infringes on her right to choose.

  • Answer: No law, model or state actually requires that the woman look at the ultrasound. She is free not to look. The requirement that it be shown to her is to ensure the abortion provider is actually giving her the opportunity to look. An ultrasound image is more information that allows a woman to make a more informed decision, it is not coercion. Previous ultrasound laws that require that the ultrasound be offered to the woman are sometimes given no more than lip service. The model law that requires the image be shown is attempting to remedy this problem.

  • Objection: Requiring ultrasounds before every abortion is unnecessary and invasive since ultrasounds on very early pregnancies require a transvaginal ultrasound.

  • Answer: A transvaginal ultrasound is not painful, and is no more invasive than the abortion itself. Many medical procedures necessitate an exam that can be somewhat uncomfortable. It is not unreasonable to hold abortion procedures to the same standard as other medical procedures.

  • Objection: Viewing an ultrasound will not matter one way or the other. Women who go to get an abortion have already made up their mind, and those who believe it is a child don't need a picture to prove it to them.

  • Answer: Many people do not absolutely side with either the pro-life or the pro-choice view of abortion. Although some women might believe that an unborn child is alive, they still may be unsure if and when it is ok to abort it. A woman who is pregnant deserves all the information making such an important decision. Seeing the image of their child will give them more information and allow them to make this decision. "It is a reasonable inference that a necessary effect of the regulation and the knowledge it conveys will be to encourage some women to carry the infant to full term, thus reducing the absolute number of late-term abortions". Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124, 160 (2007).

  • Objection: Ultrasound laws are actually aimed at changing a woman's mind, and trying to convince her to carry the child to term, not providing her with more information. They are all about the baby and not about the woman at all.

  • Answer: There is nothing wrong or illegal about such a motivation. Even in Roe v. Wade, the idea that states have an interest in protecting potential human life was established, although states were given little opportunity to do so. More recent Supreme Court opinions have further established that states have an interest in protecting unborn life and they are allowed to make laws in furtherance of that goal. Ultrasound laws are aimed both at providing a woman with more information about her unborn child, and to convince her to carry her child to term. Both are legitimate interests of the state and are therefore appropriate motivations for ultrasound laws. "It is, however, precisely this lack of information concerning the way in which the fetus will be killed that is of legitimate concern to the State". Id. at 159.

  • Objection: Ultrasounds only create an emotional response and might convince a woman to change her mind when abortion was a better option. She should be protected from emotional trauma when making such a difficult decision.

  • Answer: This "ignorance is bliss" argument is completely contrary to the concept of autonomy and choice usually promoted by abortion rights proponents. According to this theory, a woman really does not want all the information, and she needs to be shielded from some of the facts that might influence her choice. Abortion is a grave choice and it should be made with all available information. Women are capable of using information and making decisions, they do not need to be shielded by those who think abortion is a better option. Abortion is irreversible. It is more traumatic for a woman to learn importantinformation was withheld from her than it is for her to receive all the facts. "It is selfevident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know. . ." Id. at 159-60.