abortion, Bioethics, politics, public health, public policy, Sexuality

>About those ultrasounds before abortion

>Over the last few days, Kelly at Blog.Bioethics.net has been blogging about House Bill 3355, passed in the South Carolina, which will require the abortion doctor to review the ultrasound with the woman or girl at least one hour before the abortion. The woman has to sign a statement that she’s received the informed consent and a review of the US.

Kelly and several of the other visitors at the site are concerned that the woman who has made the choice to have an abortion is being unduly influenced, browbeaten and/or the target of images capable of emotional blackmail. (Words from the bloggers are in italics.)

Oh, and “a guy can go around and have sex until the cows come home,he’s never going to have to deal with the emotional decisions attached to an unwanted pregnancy.”

But, somehow, it’s no big deal, anyway.

The conversation is the same one we’ve been having for 30 plus years, but you might want to take a look.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)


11 thoughts on “>About those ultrasounds before abortion

  1. >I'd like to know how they can reconcile "trust women!" With "Women are too fragile to cope with reality. Keep them in the dark and don't worry their pretty little heads!"

    Posted by GrannyGrump | April 2, 2007, 7:27 am
  2. >Next step: Let ban the use of the words 'embryo' and 'fetus' – if you are going to rely on emotional blackmail to scare or guilt women, its going to be a lot more effective if you legally require all medical professionals call it a 'baby' from conception.Oh, and dont forget to tell them that abortion will cause breast cancer and infertility, and may kill them! I know that the first study used a small sample and that other studies showed no correlation. I know that the second included only late-term surgical abortions, and still showed only a small impact. And I know that even though abortion can kill, for a medical abortion the chance os death is about one-third the chance of death from complications of pregnency or birth. But since when do little things like facts matter to pro-life campaigners!They have demonised abortion to the extent they have lost all capability for rational decisions based on consequences. Their thinking on the issue has been reduced to 'abortion = bad' and nothing more complicated can fit in.

    Posted by Suricou Raven | April 2, 2007, 9:38 am
  3. >Well, Granny Grump, SR gave us the pro-abortion advocate's answer to any of these discussions: emotion, projection and distraction. SR, of course, elective intentional and interventional "abortion = bad."There is no justification to use deadly force on another human being, especially our own children of the future, except to prevent that human from causing the death of others. Even then, the humane, ethical action is to use the least amount of force necessary to do the job.The rule above is the basis for all the security and safety in the world. All societies have that rule. The problems that we have with abortion, slavery, subjugation and violence – and all the new forms of abuse of one human by other humans that could come from the biotech that's just waiting for more dollars – come from redefining a human being to mean inclusion of anything other than all living members of our species. There is simply no excuse not to use the Ultrasound that is being performed at the time and at the bedside in counseling a woman or girl about the procedure she is about to undergo. Any other policy is patronizing, as GrannyGrump says.I'm sure we will hear many different definitions of "review" over the next few years.

    Posted by LifeEthics.org | April 2, 2007, 1:37 pm
  4. >"SR, of course, elective intentional and interventional 'abortion = bad.' "This is the problem I have with more pro-life groups though – most of them cant confine their campaigning to consider different situations. Even in situations where an abortion is nessicary to save the life of a women, many of them are unable to allow it. They cant even think of situations such as a severely disabled fetus, or complications of pregnency, because they cant distinguish between one abortion and another.Even those organisations that should be more credable are still blindly repeating the "Abortion causes breast cancer!" mantra that was discredited years ago. Ive seen pseudoscientific research linking abortion to everything from depression to sleeping disorders to infertility to blindness. All parroted eagerly by lobbying groups who will believe anything negative said about abortion without a trace of critical thought."There is simply no excuse not to use the Ultrasound that is being performed at the time and at the bedside in counseling a woman or girl about the procedure she is about to undergo."There is a very good excuse: The patient is about to undergo a procedure which, even if successful, is very emotionally stressful. Trying to guilt her out of it will only make that stress far worse.

    Posted by Suricou Raven | April 3, 2007, 11:09 am
  5. >You are the one assigning guilt. The procedure is a morally neutral one. It is being done at the bedside for medical purposes, to stage and evaluate the pregnancy. The information belongs to the girl or woman. There is no excuse to withhold the information, unless the patient defers. The girl is right there, the doctor should be the one obtaining the informed consent. He or she can adjust the amount and manner of information that he gives, step by step. That is part of our treatment.

    Posted by LifeEthics.org | April 3, 2007, 10:27 pm
  6. >Hmm… seems a comment was lost. I will try to repeat it from memory.I havn't said to withhold information – the ultrasound is part of the patient's record, and she has the right to view it if she wishes. All she needs to do is ask. But if they dont ask, why do they need to be shown? Unless there is a potential complication, all they need to hear is the technicians conclusion that the scan looks normal. Further, its very unlikely that the woman is able to interpret ultrasound scans, so they wouldn't learn anything from the scan that is relivent to their medical situation.If the woman doesn't specificly request to see the scan, showing it will just make an already emotionally stressful procedure even more so while achieving no medical benefit to them.This is about guilt – more precisely, about deliberatly inducing it. Making it manditory to show the scans to women is a transparent ploy to encourage a last-minute change of mind by confronting them with an emotionally-laden image that they have no *need* to see.

    Posted by Suricou Raven | April 4, 2007, 10:02 am
  7. >Oh, and 'informed' decision-making isn't an issue here, for the reason mentioned above. Ultrasound scans are very difficult for someone without training and practice to interpret. A typical non-medical-professional would struggle to work out which end is the head. So showing them the scan – as opposed to just having the scanner operator tell them his conclusions – will not give them any new information regarding their medical situation.

    Posted by Suricou Raven | April 4, 2007, 10:08 am
  8. >Sounds like a classic case of "protesting too much." I'm part of the generation that fought for full disclosure, and part of the group that all too often withholds information the patient wants.We are talking about a screen that is about 3 feet from her face, while she's lying there, wide awake.The best practice and most empowering practice is to show the US to her and point out the features, just as we would for any diagnostic information.

    Posted by LifeEthics.org | April 4, 2007, 1:46 pm
  9. >"We are talking about a screen that is about 3 feet from her face, while she's lying there, wide awake."Turn it around?"The best practice and most empowering practice is to show the US to her and point out the features, just as we would for any diagnostic information."Empowering, yes. But also potentially very upsetting, even traumatic. So why just give her the bare minimum, unless she requests otherwise? Its not withholding information, because if she wants to see the scan all she needs to do is ask.

    Posted by Suricou Raven | April 5, 2007, 8:58 pm
  10. >Reviewing has many meanings, Suricou. Upsetting and traumatic are going to be the tone of the day, no matter what. Grown up women capable of consent should have the information that is available to their physicians – and certainly not just a patronizing "don't you worry."What she needs and wants today is good medical care and full informed consent, even if it seems to be too much information just now. I've heard too many women testify that they have been refused the opportunity to see their own ultrasounds. Some of us are too nice to be pushy (I let them strap me into the stirrups when the knee brace – a "V" – was upside down on one side when I was in labor. I didn't want to bother them when they were so busy)If you choose which women get less information than others, you are choosing for them.

    Posted by LifeEthics.org | April 6, 2007, 10:13 pm
  11. >Suricou RavenHave you ever had seen an actual ultrsound of an unborn baby? I had one at 12 weeks and no one had to point out any features to me…it is a perfectly formed little human on the screen. I saw my baby jump when I laughed! At 18 weeks, when the ultrasound tech asked me if I wanted to know the sex, I told her I already knew, I could see it on the screen! (It is pretty easy to tell with boys!) And I have NO medical training at all. There is no reason to keep people from seeing things that might be emotionally disturbing if they don't have any guilt attached. I have no problem seeing raw meat in the grocery store, because I am not a vegetarian and I don't see anything wrong with eating meat. If there is nothing wrong with killing baby humans, there should be no problem with their body parts being shown dead or alive. The very fact that we don't want to see aborted babies is proof that it is not the same as a "blob of tissue" or any other dead animal. And this law isn't even asking the woman to look at her dead fetus, it is just asking her to look at what is actually inside her body. When slavery was legal there were plenty of people who thought slave owners shouldn't have to see the conditions on the slave ships or see overseers beating slaves. There is nothing wrong with asking people to be morally responsible for their choices. If you are going to do it, own up to it.

    Posted by Anonymous | April 12, 2007, 2:45 pm

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