Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Pressure tactics?

A new tool is being used in the abortion battle. Anti-abortion "crisis pregnancy centers" are beginning to use sonograms to show women the fetus before they decide whether or not to have an abortion.

"When I had the sonogram and heard the heartbeat - and for me a heartbeat symbolizes life - after that there was no way I could do it," Brown said recently as she revisited the clinic and watched her now 9-month-old daughter, Elora, play at her feet.

Naturally, if the pro-lifers are for it, the pro-choicers are against it.

Groups that favor abortion rights, however, see the technique as a pressure tactic.

Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America, said that while ultrasounds were legitimate medical care for pregnant women, "they shouldn't be misused to badger or coerce women by these so-called crisis pregnancy centers."

I'm not a pro-lifer, at least as most pro-lifers define themselves. I support Roe vs. Wade. I am against laws that make abortion illegal. The last time a proposition limiting abortion came up on a ballot in Arizona, I voted against it and would do so again today. However, I'm also someone who has been pregnant and had babies, triplets in fact. Since I had a high-risk pregnancy, I had countless sonograms to check on the babies, starting with some as early as four weeks when there were just three tiny specks in three tiny sacks. At around six weeks I saw three little heartbeats, and for me, like the woman in the article, that was a point of no return, even though my doctor said a "reduction" (basically aborting one baby to ensure the viability of the other two) might be wise. So I'm having a hard time here seeing sonograms as a "pressure tactic." (To be honest, if there was any pressure, it was to have the reduction.) If someone is going to choose to have an abortion, shouldn't they do it knowing exactly what they're aborting? I certainly wouldn't have wanted to make the decision to go for a reduction only later to find out the baby had a beating heart by that time. I'm glad I knew up front exactly what stage of development they were at before I made that decision.

Laws that take away choice by force are wrong and, I think, ultimately ineffective. The truth, however, is an appropriate tool to try and convince someone to have a change of heart. How is education coercion? I hope more clinics, from anti-abortion pregnancy clinics to Planned Parenthood, will use them to help women make the educated and right choice for themselves.


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