Forcing pre-abortion peek at ultrasound

South Carolina legislators don't trust women to make abortion decision alone.

Published March 16, 2007 8:38PM (EDT)

Thanks to a new bill, women in South Carolina may soon be forced to view an ultrasound image of their fetus before having an abortion. The state's "informed consent" law already requires that women receive a lecture on fetal development and abortion alternatives and then take an hour to consider the information before they can have an abortion, reports the Associated Press.

The bill already has strong political backing and at least one convenient poster woman: Marie Connelly, a director of the Palmetto Family Council (an offspring of Focus on the Family), who regrets having had an abortion several years ago and recently returned to the clinic to retrieve "the only picture I will have of my child." If she had seen an ultrasound image of her fetus, she wouldn't have gone through with the procedure, she says.

Inevitably, there are women who will regret their decision to have an abortion. But there are also women who regret having gone through with a pregnancy. So should all grown women be treated as baby-eager teenagers and be forced to strap on an Empathy Belly or spend 24 hours with an infant simulator before deciding to have a child? Are we really going to legislatively declare that women are incapable of independently deciding what is best for them and their bodies?

Ten other states are considering similar legislation in the guise of "informed consent." But this type of legislation is not educational -- it's coercive. As Lindsay Siler, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Health Systems in North Carolina, argued: "This bill is nothing more than politically driven. It's unnecessary and an attempt to restrict abortion by scaring and intimidating women."

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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