Editor’s note. The following is excerpted from testimony delivered April 26 by Barth E. Barcy to the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee on behalf of House Bill 5691—the Fetal Ultrasound Bill. Mr. Bracy is Executive Director of Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee.
Honorable Chairperson and Members of the Judiciary Committee,
Thank you for this opportunity to present testimony in support of House Bill 5691, also known as the Fetal Ultrasound Bill.
It is beyond reasonable dispute that the question of whether an unborn child is indeed a living human being is germane to the decision of whether or not to have an abortion. …
Whether explicitly or implicitly the determination of whether the child in her womb is a living human being is currently made by the woman considering an abortion. Women considering an abortion should be provided with as much information as possible in making this critical determination.
In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court of the United States held that informed consent laws reduce “the risk that a woman may elect an abortion, only to discover later, with devastating psychological consequences, that her decision was not fully informed.”
Consider a woman who aborts an unplanned pregnancy believing that her pre-born born child is simply a “clump of cells” or a “blob of tissue.” Some Years later she excitedly visits her obstetrician for an ultrasound to confirm a planned pregnancy. She expresses joyful surprise seeing with her own eyes that even at 8 weeks, all the body systems of her baby are present. She can see little hands and little feet, little fingers and little toes. She learns from her doctor that her baby’s little heart began beating just 18 to 21 days after fertilization.
And then… her joy turns to sheer horror as she remembers that just a few years earlier she had aborted a baby no different than the one on the screen in front of her. Examples such as these are not hard to imagine. Tens of thousands of post-abortive women around America have come forward to say that they deeply regret their abortion. Many of them have testified publicly. Some are here today.
One does not need to be a medical doctor, nor does one need to be a post-abortive woman to understand regret. Is there a person in this room who has not at one time or another said to himself or herself “If only I had known then what I know now…” Abortion is not a reversible procedure. The memory of an abortion will forever haunt a woman who later comes to see that the child in her womb was indeed a living human being… her baby. This is what the Supreme Court meant by “devastating psychological consequences.”
Since the law currently recognizes the woman as the one who must make this decision, she deserves all the information available. The beauty of an ultrasound is that the evidence can be laid out clearly before her so that she can decide after seeing with her own eyes. I find it remarkable that anyone who claims to care about women’s health and well-being would not want to provide this critical information. What could be more just than giving the baby a chance to testify on his or her own behalf?
Barth E. Bracy