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Study Shows Required Ultrasound Does Not Alter Women's Decision

Surrounded by the confusion and misinformation circulated by the pro-life movement, it is important to pay attention to the actual data we have on abortions and the affects they have on the women receiving them. A recent study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology took a step toward dispelling the popular myth that, without a required visual aid, women cannot fully comprehend that they are pregnant. From RH Reality Check:

"The study looked at a whopping 15,575 women coming in for abortion. All received an ultrasound and were offered a chance to look at it. Forty-two percent did.

The results are pretty hard to refute: Looking at the ultrasound does not cause a crisis of conscience for women seeking abortion. Of the group that didn’t look, 99 percent went ahead and terminated. But of the group that did look, 98.4 percent terminated. The difference between the groups was less than a percentage point, totaling about 17 women out of over 15,000. More importantly, as Waldman notes, the women who changed their minds came strictly from the group of women who were unsure about their abortions going in. Women who were highly certain they wanted an abortion were not swayed at all by the ultrasound."

By forcing women to look at or hear a description of the fetus, there is an underlying tone of condescension. There is a tone that indicates that perhaps, if the woman only really understood what was happening, she would not make the decision to get an abortion.

“It’s not just that over 60 percent of women who get abortions are mothers already. It’s that women live in the world and we know what having a baby means physically, financially, socially, and emotionally. A woman who has an abortion knows that she is foreclosing the possibility of having this baby at this time.”

Of course women should be provided as much information as possible to empower them to choose the best healthcare options for themselves. However, trying to turn this into a scare tactic or as a last bid attempt to awaken some dormant maternal instincts is  irresponsible, and ineffective.