Friday, 10 February 2012

Pre-abortion ultrasound scans

Another hat-tip (or maybe twitch of the mantilla?) to Annie at The Arundel & Brighton Latin Mass Society blog who draws attention to this report from the Telegraph.  The state of Texas is enforcing a law which requires doctors to show a mother an ultrasound of her foetus before proceeding with an abortion (or as the Telegraph rather loadedly titles its article, "Texas forces mothers seeking abortions to view image of unborn child"). 

Of course various rights groups are up in arms about this, with US Federal Judge Sam Sparks (who originally blocked the law until it went to appeals court) stating, "There can be little doubt that (the law) is an attempt by the Texas Legislature to discourage women from exercising their constitutional rights by making it more difficult for caring and competent physicians to perform abortions."  But hey, if abortion is so OK and straighforward and legal, what's the problem with the ultrasound?  Annie quotes "Nigella" who comments, "Why is everyone so 'shocked and appalled'? You are shown the xrays when you break your leg; if abortion's so easy, common place, risk and consequence free, and run of the mill, and you have free choice, why complain about being shown an ultrasound of your baby before the abortion?"

I was cheered however when I took part in the poll on the Telegraph page in which readers were invited to vote for whether or not doctors should be required to show a woman pictures of her unborn foetus before she can have an abortion.  72.32% agreed they should, with only 27.68% saying "no".  (Why not pop over and vote yourself.) Maybe the results would have been a bit different if the readership of a paper followed by a different political demographic had been polled, but even so.

If seeing an ultrasound makes a difference to a woman's choice, then that choice was not originally a fully informed one.  Measures like this blow apart all the double-speak and brushing under the carpet which the abortion industry depends on - by showing the simple, tangible truth.  Way to go, Texas!


  1. Thanks Anneli. Indeed this is a controversial one. Much debate going on about this. Should a woman be required to have this scan with a vaginal ultrasound probe? It's the 'norm' for 6-8w scans where everything is so small. In the uk it is not a legal requirement but most women do receive a scan (the pictures are not routinely shown to them). Is this "good practice", or just a way of BPAS and MSI bumping up their fees to the NHS?
    Can I refer you to an excellent discussion thread on Caroline Farrow's blog?

  2. Thanks Amanda. I wasn't aware that the ultrasound was vaginal, but I'm not sure that changes my thinking, certainly not to the emphatic extent of Caroline's reaction. I don't think that, sensitively done, it has to be any worse from the embarrassment/discomfort point of view than a cervical smear - none of us like those, but we know we have to have them done. The way it is conducted is of the essence in these circumstances, but given the distressing and serious event that an abortion is overall, I don't think this procedure is unnecessarily intrusive.

    Being scanned for no apparent purpose, though (i.e. the woman is not shown the scan), unless it's absolutely necessary to confirm a pregnancy (and I'm not a medic so don't know if that's the case), is different and in that case I can see no point.

    Abortion is abortion and is wrong even if the baby is no more than a few cells big at the time. That's true. But it's too easy for a woman to deny that until she sees the truth of the new life beating inside her.