As abortion supporters fight an onslaught of new states' restrictions "tooth & nail," the mainstream media, in backflip spins, claims mothers' ultrasound viewing of her unborn does NOT result in abortion reconsiderations.
-- From "In Ultrasound, Abortion Fight Has New Front" by Kevin Sack, New York Times 5/27/10
Over the last decade, ultrasound has quietly become a new front in the grinding state-by-state battle over abortion. With backing from anti-abortion groups, which argue that sonograms can help persuade women to preserve pregnancies, 20 states have enacted laws that encourage or require the use of ultrasound.
Alabama is one of three states, along with Louisiana and Mississippi, that require abortion providers to conduct an ultrasound and offer women a chance to peer inside the womb.
Late last month, Oklahoma went a step further. Overriding a veto by Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, the Republican-controlled Legislature enacted a law mandating that women be presented with an ultrasound image and with a detailed oral description of the embryo or fetus.
In some instances, the ultrasounds have affected women in ways not intended by anti-abortion strategists. Because human features may barely be detectable during much of the first trimester, when 9 of 10 abortions are performed, some women find viewing the images reassuring.
Abortion rights advocates oppose laws that require ultrasounds, even if viewing the images is voluntary.
The anti-abortion movement has regularly used ultrasonic imagery dating back to “The Silent Scream,” the influential 1984 film that depicts an abortion in progress. More recently, Focus on the Family spent an estimated $10 million to buy ultrasound equipment and provide training for centers that steer women away from abortion.
The Alabama law has had no apparent impact on the number of abortions, which hovers around 11,300 a year. State law also requires that women receive a pamphlet on fetal development and a directory of adoption agencies during a 24-hour waiting period.
Staff members interviewed at three of the seven abortion clinics in the state estimated that 30 percent to 70 percent of women chose to see ultrasound images [others simply look away]. But they said it was uncommon for women to be dissuaded.
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