Mother Jones reports:
April 2011 saw a remarkable amount of anti-choice legislation. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 33 laws in 9 states restricted abortion or made it more difficult for women to obtain them.
Some of the measures passed are almost (almost) amusing in their cluelessness and ineffectiveness. Laws requiring women to receive counseling before an abortion is performed presume that women wouldn’t get the abortion if they just stopped to think about it (the reason it’s not, in fact, amusing is that it carries the presumption that women can’t make these kinds of decisions for themselves). More importantly, they ignore the fact that pretty much every abortion clinic already counsels patients extensively before an abortion is performed, and they do this by choice and out of concern for their patients’ well-being, not because they have to. The actual purpose behind the state-mandated counseling (and yet another reason it’s not funny) is to try to get abortion clinics to call women murderers.
Another of the measures that’s becoming popular with anti-choice assholes is the requirement that a woman be shown an ultrasound of her fetus before an abortion is performed, presumably while a Baptist minister stands in the room, pointing at the screen and shouting, “Look at that! God created that and you want to murder that poor child! Harlot!” Again, anti-choicers are operating on the assumption that women who get abortions do so on a whim, without actually thinking about what’s going on inside their bodies. Surely if we just show them the baby inside them, their maternal instinct will kick in and they’ll do what Pasty White Male Jesus wants them to do!
About half of abortions occur in the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. Here is what the ultrasound might look like if a pregnant woman chooses to get an abortion during her eighth week:
Let’s cut the sentiment for a second: that could be a kidney bean that accidentally got crammed into her uterus. I’m not denying what’s actually there (a clump of rapidly dividing cells with no significant brain development as yet), but the point is, forcing a pregnant woman to look at this image doesn’t seem incredibly likely to change her opinion about what’s going on inside her own body. I’m sorry, old white male legislators, but you don’t possess some secret understanding of the “miracle of life.”
Of course, an additional 38% of abortions take place between weeks 8 and 12. Let’s look at a 3D ultrasound, since the anti-choicers are going for maximum emotional impact here, rather than any kind of medical necessity. A fetus after 12 weeks of gestation:
Oh my god, it looks like a baby, right?! Of course, it also happens to be about 3 inches long. I have Star Trek action figures bigger than that. About.com informs us: “If your practitioner uses a doppler, you may be able to hear your baby’s heart beat at this prenatal visit. Some say it sounds like horses.” Okay, that’s weird.