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Pro-Life At First Sight?: State Rules to Require Ultra Sound before Abortion June 22, 2010

Filed under: Abortion — afrocity @ 1:11 AM
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On the heels of yesterday’s topic on abortion,  I wanted to quickly  post this news of a new state law in Louisiana which will require all women seeking and abortion to get an ultrasound of the fetus first.  And when this bill says all women, this  bill  means ALL WOMEN for it also includes mandatory ultra sounds for victims of rape or incest who wish to have an abortion.

With everyone paying (rightly) so much attention to the BP oil spill/Gulf crisis, this story did not receive much media attention.

Louisiana To Require Ultrasounds Before Abortions

by The Associated Press

June 16, 2010

Women seeking abortions in Louisiana will be required to get an ultrasound first, even if they are a victim of rape or incest, under a bill that received final legislative passage Wednesday.

The bill by Democratic state Sen. Sharon Broome of Baton Rouge was sent to the governor’s desk with a 79-0 vote of the state House. Gov. Bobby Jindal supports the measure.

Supporters of the proposal said they hope the ultrasound dissuades some women from getting an abortion at the handful of abortion clinics in Louisiana, by giving them more information about their pregnancies.

“This is a bill that empowers women,” Broome said in committee testimony, adding that at least 15 other states have a similar requirement.

Opponents said requiring a procedure that might not be available at a free clinic nearby will make it more difficult and costly for women to get abortions. No one spoke against the proposal on the House floor Wednesday.

An ultrasound at health care facilities around the state can cost anywhere from $80 to more than $300, depending on the location, according to a review of health care pricing websites for hospitals and clinics in Louisiana.

It was unclear how significant the change will really be, however. Testimony from both sides of the debate has indicated more than 95 percent of women who get abortions in Louisiana already have ultrasounds performed, without the requirement in place.

Broome’s bill started out in a much more controversial fashion. It would have required anyone seeking an abortion to listen to a detailed description of the fetus that included its dimensions and whether arms, legs or internal organs are visible. The woman also would have been required to get a photograph of the ultrasound.

Those requirements were removed from the bill at its first stop in a Senate committee hearing. The description and the photograph will be optional instead, and a statement must be read to the woman seeking the abortion describing her ability to get the description and photograph and view the ultrasound.

After the proposal was revised, it moved easily through the Legislature with few votes in opposition.

Louisiana has enacted a series of restrictions on abortions over the years, many of which have been overturned in courts. Lawmakers also have placed language in statutes to explain the state only allows abortion procedures because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled they are legal.

Earlier this week, lawmakers gave final passage to another bill that would give Louisiana’s health secretary broader discretion to revoke abortion clinic licenses in case of safety and health concerns. Awaiting debate in the Senate is a House-approved bill that would prohibit medical malpractice coverage of doctors when they are performing elective abortions that aren’t required to save the life of the mother.

Ultrasound of twin babies

I am not quite sure how I feel about this one.  On the one hand,  the law may certainly sway a mother to continue with her pregnancy. There is nothing wrong with that as long as her health is not in danger.  However, on the other hand, if I were raped by a family member, I am sure I would not want to see evidence of the assault/abuse.   The images of the attack which live in the mind are potentially traumatizing enough.  Imagine having to look at a child fathered by an act of rape.   I know how painful it is because my mother was raped in 1957 and became pregnant as a result of a violent act- at knife point.   She carried the babyto full term and raised him for one year.  After she could no longer stand to look at her son, she gave him up to the family of the man that raped her.

Because the Louisiana law includes victims of rape and incest, I cannot say that it is absolutely benign.

You be the judge.

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10 Responses to “Pro-Life At First Sight?: State Rules to Require Ultra Sound before Abortion”

  1. armywife Says:

    Good Morning,

    I am so sorry about your mom, what a double tragedy in her giving her son, your brother, to the family of the man that raped her.

    Having been in that situation, it is very difficult, I continued with my pregnancy and never considered abortion as I believe a child begins at conception.

    The only good part of this story is that it is not mandatory to watch the ultrasound and receive the details of the baby if you are in the very difficult situation of rape or incest. I am glad they took that part out, it would be too tramatic for women in that situation.

    As always you are very thought provoking!

    Have a great day!

  2. Liz Says:

    I completely oppose the law. It’s telling women that they aren’t mature enough to undergo a completely legal procedure, or that they don’t know what it entails. I’m fine with pro lifers providing alternatives and/or protesting abortion. I can respect that. But they can’t do this.

    Oh, and I’m terribly sorry about your mother. I just don’t see why a woman should have to have an ultrasound because she consented to sex. The compulsory ultrasound is, in my opinion, either okay for all women or not accetable for anyone.

  3. Tiny Says:

    The gravity of the decision calls for extreme laws like this. Despite the horror of rape and incest the child should still be given a chance at life…..

  4. yttik Says:

    The pictures Afrocity has up are of fancy 3 D ultra sounds of pregnancies that have progressed way beyond abortion. Most ultra sounds done early on aren’t fancy 3 D images and aren’t going to show anything recognizable.

    I think this is an invasive law. I don’t believe we have the right to treat women like children who have no idea what they are doing.

  5. Janelle Says:

    I am pro prevention. Or secondly, pro-choice as a last and very last option. In any case, both sides have good arguments. Can we agree that there are circumstances which merit birth and those that are questionable?

    • afrocity Says:

      To pro-lifers, there is never a reason to abort.

    • Holly Says:

      Afrocity is correct, those of us who believe in preserving life find very few exceptions for abortion; one exception for me would be, to use an example, the 9 year old Brazilian girl who was molested, became pregnant and aborted the child. I find no fault in that.

      For grown women and girls old enough to know how pregnancy occurs, I would ask for you to define the circumstances that require questioning.

      • armywife Says:

        I believe there are many pro-lifers who are like me, abortion on demand due to your lack of self control is never a good reason to abort a child. However, in the case of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger, then, although I don’t agree with it, abortion is a choice only the mother can make. Any woman in those situations need to have the option of making a choice that only they can make, what is right for them. I believe that is the only time a woman should have a “choice”, never can I tell another woman what is right for them in that situation.

        • yttik Says:

          Now see, armywife, I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. That’s a prolife position I have no problem with.

          As long as we recognize that there are unique situations and that women and their doctors are the ones who should be making the decisions in those cases, then I’m fine with a pro-life stance. It’s when we sit in judgment of girls and women and believe big government is better qualified to make moral decisions then the people involved, that I have a problem.

        • Holly Says:


          Thank you for your opinion. We concur on most issues. Abortion due to negligence and irresponsibility on the part of the woman/couple I do not respect. I would change incest to molestation because any sexual act with a child is disgusting and I would never fault the child for her decision. Ever.

          Rape is interesting. I would not challenge whatever the woman chose to do because I have never experienced such a tramatic violation of my body (physically or emotionally), but as you said, I do not agree with it. There is a question that I sometimes ask myself, some people may not like the way the question is framed, but I ask “when does the act of violence end?” Rape is the taking and denial of dignity and humanity. Abortion to me is the taking and denial of the child’s dignity and humanity. Does the act of violence end with the rape? Does it end with the abortion? Does it never end and the woman carries the scars of both tramatic events with her?

          What I like about this discussion is that questions are being posed and thoughtful answers put forward. Society is sometimes too fippant about abortion without contemplating the long-term effects (physically, emotionally, spiritually) of such a serious act.

          Societies are defined by laws and morality and this is an instance where two sides fight the grey area.

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