By Mary Spaulding Balch, JD,
National Right to Life Director of State Legislation
Editor’s note. This appeared as an “opposing view” in Monday’s USA TODAY
Airline passengers must listen to safety instructions, illustrated with seat belts and life vests. No one argues that showing the images insults people who have already decided to fly or is a government intrusion into the pilot-passenger relationship.
In the ultrasound debate, the true paternalists are those who would “shelter” women from seeing their unborn child’s beating heart at 22 days, or viewing her kicking and moving inside the womb at seven weeks.
In a 1992 case upholding key regulations on abortion, the U.S. Supreme Court held that states can require information that “is truthful and not misleading” be made available to a woman to help ensure that she “apprehend the full consequences of her decision.” The court stated that doing so reduces “the risk that a woman may elect an abortion, only to discover later, with devastating psychological consequences, that her decision was not fully informed.”
Clearly, real-time ultrasound images of the unborn child are truthful, not misleading, and can lead to a more informed decision.
Ultrasound is a window to the womb allowing the mother to view for herself what is inside her, seeing not opinion but objective and accurate fact. Vaginal ultrasounds now attacked as intrusive are routinely used by abortion practitioners. If they are invasive, what about the insertion — in the same place — of the violent suction apparatus, much more powerful than a home vacuum, used in many abortions.
Abortion practice is hurried and impersonal. Instead of a visit to the family doctor, it usually involves an abortion practitioner the woman has never seen before. The physician-patient relationship is non-existent. The decision to have an abortion is major, having potential ramifications not only on the mother, but also on the life of the unborn child.
All the uproar begs the question: What are abortion advocates afraid women will see on the ultrasound screen?