Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ultra Sound and Abortion, Part II

Will Saletan informs us that the sky is blue, water is wet, and those are fetuses that get aborted
Filed under: Reproductive Rights, Stupidity, Law, Assholes — zuzu @ 3:38 pm

I really wonder sometimes if Will Saletan is my father’s long-lost bastard child. Because he’s got the exact same talent Dad had for telling you what you already knew in a manner that made it clear that he thought he was a genius and you were benighted and in dire need of his instruction. Even where he is hopelessly, utterly wrong — or at the very least, just not getting it in the name of being “contrarian.”

I have noted this similarity once before, comparing Will’s stunning revelation that greater access to contraception will tend to decrease abortion (not to mention his belief that he just thought of this all by himself) to my father’s being full of advice about the use of the microwave that everyone else in the house had already been using for 10 years before he deigned to figure out how to turn it on.

Will’s latest offering from the “No shit, Sherlock” files reminds me very much of my father’s solemnly informing me that there are nine Justices on the Supreme Court. Mind you, I was in college at the time. Poli Sci. I kinda knew that. But Dad was a white guy, and that made him an Expert.

What’s the latest pearl of wisdom from Lord Saletan? Women just don’t know that they’re aborting fetuses, and we have to make sure they know this!

(Saletan) "In its April 18 ruling, the court treated abortion like an obscenity—something that could be done, but not out in the open. Partial-birth abortions, the court reasoned, could be banned because they occur outside the woman’s body. Other abortions need not be outlawed, since the womb conceals them.

Ultrasound dissolves this distinction. It offers to make every fetus and every abortion visible. It forces the court to renounce either the partial-birth ban or the right to abortion."

Oh, my god! Who knew that these were human fetuses that were getting aborted??? Sweet gibbering Jesus, were it not for ultrasound technology, we would never, ever know what goes on within the black box of a woman’s body!

(Saletan) It’s hard to accept if you see abortion as a woman’s right. But it’s even harder to accept if you see abortion as the taking of a human life. That’s one reason why pro-lifers are turning their attention from partial-birth abortion to ultrasound, from the fetus outside the body to the fetus within. They’re trying to open, in their words, a “window to the womb.”Pro-lifers are often caricatured as stupid creationists who just want to put women back in their place. Science and free inquiry are supposed to help them get over their “love affair with the fetus.” But science hasn’t cooperated. Ultrasound has exposed the life in the womb to those of us who didn’t want to see what abortion kills. The fetus is squirming, and so are we. Around the country, ultrasound bills are all the rage. Most of them require clinics to offer each woman an ultrasound view of her fetus. Mississippi enacted a law on March 22. Idaho followed April 3. Georgia’s legislature passed a bill a week ago; South Carolina’s is about to do the same."

Quick! Better lobby your state legislature for an ultrasound bill! All the cool kids are doing it. It’s all techno.

Plus, you don’t want to be a pussy, do you?

(Saletan) Critics complain that these bills seek to “bias,” “coerce,” and “guilt-trip” women. Come on. Women aren’t too weak to face the truth. If you don’t want to look at the video, you don’t have to. But you should look at it, and so should the guy who got you pregnant, because the decision you’re about to make is as grave as it gets. Are ultrasound pushers trying to bias your decision? Of course. But of all the things they do to “inform” your decision, this is the least twisted. Look at the Senate’s “Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act.” It would order your doctor to deliver a 193-word script full of bogus congressional findings about your “pain-capable unborn child.” Ultrasound cuts through that kind of garbage. The image on the monitor may look like a blob, a baby, or neither. It certainly won’t follow some senator’s script. All it will show you is the truth.

Look at the pretty pictures!

You know, that little line about “the truth” reminds me of that scene in A Few Good Men where Tom Cruise has Jack Nicholson on the stand: “I want the truth!” demands Tom. “You can’t handle the truth,” sneers Jack.

Now, why would I think of a Tom Cruise movie when reading an article about ultrasounds?
I just love how Saletan decides that women don’t know “the truth” about abortion, and that ultrasounds are just the ticket for telling them that they have a human life in their wombs. That fetuses MOVE!

Uh, they know that already, Will. That’s why they’re getting abortions. Because they know that if the embryo or fetus is left there, chances are it will be a baby after nine months, the responsibility of someone who doesn’t want to have a baby. They don’t need to look at an ultrasound to know that. Of course, anti-choicers remain convinced otherwise:

(Saletan) To pro-lifers, ultrasound is a test of pro-choice sincerity. “The same people who scream that women must always be told ‘all their options,’ including abortion, balk at allowing women to see whom it is whose life they are about to take,” says Mary Spaulding Balch, NRLC’s state legislative director. “They are petrified that women will change their minds after seeing their babies.”

So, uh, you gonna pay for this, Mary? Because requiring ultrasounds — which are not cheap — is going to raise the price of abortions and force even more late-term procedures as women have to get the money together. Which, of course, is the point here: throw up as many roadblocks as possible, raise the costs, make it as difficult as possible to obtain an abortion, and maybe a few of those sluts will change their minds. And if they don’t want to look at the video, they’re weak and can’t handle the truth.

Actually, given how many obstacles are put into womens’ paths, particularly in Bible-belt states, it’s a wonder anyone goes through with abortion at all. I’ve never had one, but if I ever needed one, I live in a state with incredibly liberal abortion laws. I can’t even imagine scraping together the money, traveling to a distant clinic, going through mandatory waiting periods, having to sit through bullshit disclosures about the procedure, running the gantlet of the protesters outside (not to mention all the security inside due to the terrorism directed at women’s clinics), and then having one more goddamn thing thrown at you: “Look! It’s your baby!”

That so many women do make it through this whole procedure is a real testament to the fact that they know the truth already and they will do what they need to do. Which is something that needs to be added to the list of things Saletan Just Doesn’t Get. Because this is how he closes his piece:

To trust the ultrasound, you have to trust the woman.

If you trusted the woman in the first place, you wouldn’t force her to view an ultrasound.


Lindsay said...

The mere fact that these people don't seem to trust women to understand that there is, in fact, a fetus growing inside them should mean they also don't trust women to raise a child, right? It's truly frustrating to listen to this kind of bullshit, equating women with children who need to be talked down to and have their poor little hands held as they are guided through this completely foreign idea of pregnancy. Women are not children. We are fully capable of making these kinds of decisions on our own without having more and more roadblocks thrust in our faces under the guise of "providing information." Do any of these people have any idea what a first trimester fetus looks like? Kinda like a little shrimp . . . really pulls at your heartstrings, doesn't it?
I specifically had a problem with the phrase "window to the womb." It sounds to me like just another step in obliterating the privacy a woman has in her very own body, and opening it up, so that everyone else now has the right to look down and make her decisions for her.

liberal for life said...

This Saletan guy is completely ridiculous! This article is a testament to how stupid Saletan really is and how close minded some people really can be. I am a strong believer in abortion and abortion rights. The fact that they are beginning to force women to see an ultrasound and see the fetus that they about to abort. Abortion is a woman rights and it is something that should not be restricted and should not be seen as wrong. Women in this nation received the right to have abortions in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision and this right should not be compromised. Road blocks should not be placed in front of women who want to receive abortions. It is hard enough for a woman to decide that she wants an abortion and than when they are faced with several road blocks it discourages them even more. This Saletan guy is extremely ridiculous in his beliefs and should not make women feel any less of a person. He is not a woman therefore he has no right to even have an opinion.

Hendrix said...

I think they veiw women in this article as being totally oblivous and stupid. It's not the first time a woman has been pregnant before. Women are well aware of what they are doing when they have an abortion. I think it is stupid to set up so many "road blocks" in the way of obtaining an abortion. Either it is legal or it isn't. Why make it so complicated. The fact that Saletan thinks women should see there baby before having an abortion is not only a way of looking down on women but also just plain mean. Plus did he forget that some women who have abortions also have children. Every women knows and comphrends that a baby is suppose to be a blessing, but the fact is not all women view it as one. And so what. A woman's body should not be on trial here. If you don't like abortion don't have one it you do abort!

Anonymous said...

One unbelievable, but true, fact that the religious right conveniently ignores is that there is NOTHING in the Bible which explicitly forbids abortion. I have read most of the Old Testament (including the laws in Leviticus) and the all of the New Testament and I have not found a single line forbidding abortions. The closest the Bible comes to mentioning abortion is a line in Leviticus about what happens if two men injure a pregnant woman while fighting and cause her to miscarry. This situation is more like fetal homicide (where the pregnancy is aborted against the woman's wishes) instead of abortion, where the pregnancy is terminated WITH the woman's wishes.