Because, you know, how dare women see an image of the baby they're about to kill!
An in-the-know friend of Feministing emailed to explain the bill to us:SB 1878 is a hideous piece of anti-choice omnibus legislation that would, among other things, compel physicians one hour prior to performing an abortion to do an ultrasound on the patient and point out various features (e.g. heart beat, fetal movements) to the patient. A vaginal probe ultrasound is mandated if that gives the best image, even in those instances where the unwanted pregnancy is the result of rape. In first trimester terminations (almost all of them) that will be the case. There is a very hefty penalty if the physician fails to perform an ultrasound. (BTW, Oklahoma already has a law that requires doctors to offer women the opportunity to view an ultrasound at no cost to the woman by referral to a location that provides no-cost ultrasounds).
The bill also:
Prevents employers from "discriminating" against health care workers who refuse to perform a medical procedure (i.e. abortion, or a pap smear on a single woman) Says only physicians can prescribe mifepristone (the abortion pill also known as RU-486) -- even though this is already the law Requires women's health clinics that provide abortion to "conspicuously" post a sign on the premises that states it is "against the law for anyone, regardless of his or her relationship to you, to force you to have an abortion."
The Oklahoma State Medical Association opposes the bill because it interferes with the practice of medicine. Also, if a doctor fails to comply with the law, the fines are absurd -- starting at $10,000 and possibly up to $100,000. (Compare that to the maximum fine for DUI or reckless homicide in Oklahoma -- $1,000.)
Antichoicers call this "informed consent." But as Jessica wrote awhile back, when Will Saletan had a horrible column on mandatory-ultrasound legislation,Because obviously women who have made the decision to end a pregnancy won’t understand the “truth” unless it’s put up on an easy-viewing screen. As Amanda so aptly noted in an email exchange: "If women only knew that they were getting abortions when they got abortions!!!!!"
Right. What mandatory-ultrasound-viewing bills do is insult women by assuming they haven't fully considered what they're doing when they decide to opt for abortion. We don't need the "help" of antichoice state legislators to understand what abortion is. We get it.
What is it with pro-abortion advocates being against this? If abortion is so great, and you aren't actually killing a child, then why does it matter if a mother sees an ultrasound? If it's no big deal, and it's just a "blob of flesh", as abortionists like to say so often, then it shouldn't be a problem.
Of course, the reason abortion advocates are so against this is because they know that if many women see an ultrasound of their baby, they'll change their mind. And we all know how lucrative the abortion business is. But in this bill, women are allowed to "avert their eyes" if they so choose during the ultrasound, so really, aren't they really complaining about nothing? If she so chooses, she can close her eyes and never look at the baby she's about to murder. Fine, go ahead -- whatever makes you sleep better at night, honey.
And why criticize the anti-discrimination part of the bill? If a doctor wants to work at, say, Planned Parenthood so he can help women who can't afford to see an OB/GYN or get birth control, but doesn't want to perform abortions, then isn't that his decision? They're basically arguing that doctors should be prosecuted for refusing to perform abortions. How does that make any sense?
The sign, in my opinion, is a great idea. Too many women are forced into abortions, led to believe that they have no other choices, by boyfriends or husbands most often, but by the clinic workers themselves as well. (But hey, gotta bring in that dough!)
So, posting a sign saying that it is illegal to force a woman to have an abortion is a negative... how?
The complaints about these types of things really show that the "pro-choice" movement isn't about choice at all. Choice has nothing to do with it. They want all women to have abortions... they want abortions to be as commonplace as Pap smears (and no, Amanda Marcotte, they aren't quite the same thing). They don't want women to decide to keep their baby or give it up for adoption, for reasons I just can't understand. Even if you're pro-abortion, why is it something to be proud of, to push women towards? No one should want to have an abortion. It's a horrible, awful thing. If you really feel like you have no choice, then it's understandable (sort of). But to parade around like it's no big thing to abort a baby is ridiculous. It is a big deal -- it's a huge deal -- and it's something that will often have a lifelong (negative) effect on the mother.
If abortion advocates really were about choice, then provisions like this wouldn't make them so angry. They'd want these mothers to make informed choices, they'd want them to know exactly what was going on with these babies so that they understand completely what it is they're doing. You can sneeringly claim that of course they understand what they're doing, but most don't. They're scared, they're confused, and they feel like they have no other options. It's only fair to them to tell them -- to show them the life growing inside of them, to give them all possible information about adoption and what help is available if they choose to keep the child. She should then be told exactly what the procedure will be like, including how painful it will be and what effect it has on the baby. Then, and only then, can you say that a mother has a made an informed choice. Only then can she truly understand exactly what she's doing.
But see, if that were to happen before every woman went in to have an abortion, I'd wager that the number of abortions would plummet. And abortion advocates simply can't have that.