Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Imagineering

Georgia's state legislature is currently considering House Bill 147, which is yet another thinly-veiled anti-abortion law. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about the bill:

HB 147 requires women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound. The woman is then given the option of viewing the results. The bill also has language that says the ultrasound must be of high enough quality so the fetal heartbeat can be heard.

I'll be frank: I'm pro-choice when pressed, but am hardly comfortable with it. I've always felt that both sides purposefully push the rhetoric and debate to the extremes, out of their fear of giving an inch and having the other side take a mile. It seems so obvious to me that an embryo or fetus is not "just a clump of cells"; neither is it a child. To argue otherwise not only makes me dizzy, it minimizes the very real trauma that many women go through when making difficult decisions about an unwanted pregnancy, a pregnancy begun in violence, an unhealthy pregnancy, a dangerous pregnancy, infertility, and of course, miscarriage or pregnancy loss.

Okay, all that said, I have two main problems with this bill, and neither one (surprisingly) has to do with the fact that it's a transparent attempt to decrease the number of abortions by some method other than decreasing the number of unwanted pregnancies.
  1. It is often impossible to get an ultrasound for a wanted pregnancy in the first trimester. If you don't have a history of loss, some previous medical problem, or extra cash, you're probably not going to have an ultrasound until 18 weeks. This bill is not about giving women who are seeking abortions the standard of obstetrical care. It would actually give them better obstetrical care than most women in Georgia. Something's wrong here.
  2. The assumption that these poor women have no idea what they're doing is so patronizing as to make me feel physically ill. Again, from the article:

    Rep. James Mills (R-Gainesville), the sponsor of HB 147, told the committee the purpose of the bill is to give women all the information necessary to make an informed decision before getting an abortion. Mills said women need to know information about fetal development, heartbeat and other factors prior to getting an abortion.

    This is coming from the same state that passed a bill which required doctors to give women seeking abortions incorrect information linking abortions and breast cancer. Thanks, Rep. Mills, but I think I'll inform myself instead of relying on you. Go ahead and spend your time on something useful, like repealing the Sunday alcohol sales law. Because, you know, I'm just a stupid woman who likes to get drunk and pregnant so I can have abortions for fun.

2 comments:

sally said...

I'm always amazed when a male comes with legislation that can never affect him directly," said
Rep. Nikki Randall.

Precisely.

Ruth said...

Funny, I almost put that quote in my post, too. She nails it.