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Laws That Bully Women Seeking Abortions

5 Laws That Bully Women Seeking Abortions

While it's one thing to be fully informed before a medical procedure, laws dictating what information needs to be dispersed before abortions are not always passed to educate women, but to dissuade them.

Louisiana passed a law Wednesday that will require women to have ultrasounds before abortions, even if they are rape or incest victims. Supporters aren't even shy about saying why they support it: they hope to deter women from choosing abortions. When Nebraska passed a similar law last year, Senator Tony Fulton said mandating ultrasounds will "reduce the number of abortions." These laws are not passed to improve the health and well-being of women, but to satisfy the politics and personal ethics of their supporters.

It's hardly the first time, though, state government passed abortion laws using misguided logic. Using findings from the Guttmacher Institute, here are five laws that are just bully tactics disguised as legislation.

  1. Describing ultrasounds: Because requiring ultrasounds is not enough, technicians in Oklahoma, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are required to describe what they see (eyes, a hand, maybe even the sex) during an ultrasound up to an hour before the abortion. Victims of rape and incest are not spared the theatrics.
  2. Post patient questionnaires online: Oklahoma requires women to fill out a questionnaire, which asks potentially identifying questions, and then posts it online.
  3. Provide info on fetus's ability to feel pain: Nine states are required to tell women how much pain the fetus will feel. This seems like fine information before a woman decides, but afterward?
  4. Report inaccurate info on an abortion-breast cancer link: Out of the seven states whose required info provides material on breast cancer risks after abortions, five (Alaska, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia) inaccurately report an increased risk.
  5. Focus only on negative reactions: For all the women who feel regret and loss and wonder what if after an abortion, I know from eight months working on a postabortion hotline women also feel relief. In fact, most of the calls were about guilt over feeling relief. Yet out of the 17 states that provide info on possible psychological responses to abortions, seven (Michigan, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia) focus on the negative only.

If a state wants to require options counseling — that are comprehensive and accurate — before a woman decides how to have an abortion then fine. But adding impediments after a decision is made is not of value to anyone, except maybe those over involved in the lives of strangers.

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
By the way, that 'second measure' up there is in OK only.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
postmod they'll never do away with anonymous comments because they generate more traffic. I report anons all the time though, I'm sure the community manager is sick if hearing from me by now. I'm definitely against showing the ultrasound to rape/incest victims, like I said though a girl could just say she was raped and then not have to view the ultrasound. I mean, would the girl need to show a police report? Do they take the abortion 'leftovers' and DNA test them in hopes that the rapist is a felon whose DNA is already on file? I don't even know if something like that is possible. Even the NYT article doesn't give much more info. Though it mentions that: "A second measure... prevents women who have had a disabled baby from suing a doctor for withholding information about birth defects while the child was in the womb. "Opponents argue that the law will protect doctors who purposely mislead a woman to keep her from choosing an abortion. But the bill’s sponsors maintain that it merely prevents lawsuits by people who wish, in hindsight, that the doctor had counseled them to abort a disabled child." That is seriously fucked up. If I was going to have a disabled baby I would want to know as soon as possible- not to get an abortion but to be prepared. No doctor should ever withhold info from a patient. The 'source' link on the link in #1 connects to nothingness... Tres seriously this is the most poorly linked story I have seen in a while. I'm going to assume (since it was posted Friday) that you were just in a hurry to get home for the weekend. I would be disappointed if you skipped out on the links because the facts go against your opinions.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
To force a victim of rape/incest to do this is utterly disgusting in my opinion. If I lived in a state that passed a law like this, I would have a really hard time not moving somewhere else. And once again I have to agree about the anonymous posters. The Sugar network really needs to consider banning anonymous comments. Many of them have to be reported for being vile and/or ridiculous anyway.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
Anon 20... I was going to pick that response to pieces, but then I saw that you're only 15, and I have to say, you're not hopeless. Wisdom comes with age. Judging by your current mindset, however, you might reach a very ripe old age before any bit of semi-wisdom comes out of your mind.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
First off let me say that it is refreshing to see an abortion article that focuses on flawed legislation, and is not a rude general attack on all pro-lifers. I mean seriously, thanks for the respect, Tres. I assure you it's mutual. 1. Not completely against it; for rape/incest victims I am, but if they were excluded, couldn't every woman seeking an abortion claim to be raped so she wouldn't have to view the ultrasound? 2. (from the link provided) "Even though the questionnaire does not ask for name or address, the first eight questions alone most likely would be enough to identify a woman in a town of 200 or less." (from the link on that link) the survey asks: "1. Date of abortion 2. County in which abortion performed 3. Age of mother 4. Marital status of mother (married, divorced, separated, widowed, or never married) 5. Race of mother 6. Years of education of mother (specify highest year completed) 7. State or foreign country of residence of mother 8. Total number of previous pregnancies of the mother Live Births Miscarriages Induced Abortions" What's your logic on that one? How could the girl be identified in a city of 200 when it doesn't ask what city she lives in? Just curious. Cost of this program concerns me more: “$281,285 the first year and $256,285 each subsequent year” Seriously they could buy condoms with that $$$$$$!!!! 3. Afterward? Really? Is there a link available on that one? 4. Another link, please? The way you word it, I think I'm against it, but I need some facts. 5. Not sure how I feel about that one, honestly, though the fact that a feeling of relief comes with an abortion is obvious. I don't know why they would tell you, but I understand why they would warn you about possible regret.
Janine22 Janine22 7 years
Reading all of this makes me so happy to be Canadian! None of this happens in Canada plus abortions are paid for by our medical system. For those misinformed individuals who think that later term abortions are regularly performed, you are mistaken. They are only performed in special circumstances, for example the mother is a severe heroin or crack addict.
medenginer medenginer 7 years
Passing a law to have an ultrasound before this procedure will not deter women from having abortions. It's standard protocol at some places to receive an ultrasound before an abortion. I went through an ultrasound and it didn't stop me from having an abortion. I'm thankful I could choose another state because some politician has an agenda in the one I reside.
Yesi-Jukebox Yesi-Jukebox 7 years
I really wish people would stop trying to make such personal decisions for each other. I agree with above that NO woman EVER wants to get an abortion but sometimes it is the only option. Let's stop judging each other for things we cannot understand. I'll also add that while I am Pro-Choice it makes me sick that SOME women with healthy babies wait until they have a big belly to get an abortion.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I totally agree with SKG and flyinggrip. These laws are only meant to bully people. Regardless of what your views are, there's something wrong with the government requiring people to undergo medical procedures of any kind (including ultrasounds) that are not medically necessary.
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
Anon - And you wonder why people have a bad taste in their mouths about Pro-Lifers. It's not murder, learn how to use the dictionary before posting, please.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 7 years
Having an abortion is a very hard decision some women have to take, and making it harder is not helping. What these laws do is that they try to make woman more guilty of what they already do. It is my body and I have the right to decide what I want to do with it. Stop trying to tell women what to do. If you don't believe in abortion then don't do ti, but don't try to tell the rest how they should or should not live their lives.
bisou002 bisou002 7 years
Anonymous, you make me ill.
lockandkey lockandkey 7 years
pro-choice all the way, these laws are horrible.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
Geez, Anonymous. Most abortions take place during the first trimester, so why do you want to punish all these women? Completely unfair.
flyinggrip flyinggrip 7 years
I can't even imagine how painful all of that would be for a woman who did want her baby but sought to end the pregnancy due to birth defects or other health reasons. Some of which cannot be detected until late in the pregnancy. Not every woman who gets an abortion is a teenage girl who made a mistake. No woman ever wants to have an abortion, but unfortunately some situations arise where it may just be the best option for the mother, baby, and rest of the family. And out right lying from a health provider is completely unacceptable. I work in health care and if I gave out false information I would lose my job!
le-romantique le-romantique 7 years
Disgusting. Just what a rape/incest victim wants to see as a result of a traumatic experience, on top of the experience itself. Choose choice.
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