Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Drop the abortion ultrasound mandate

It wasn't difficult to predict that North Carolina's new abortion law would take a rocky and costly journey through the courts.

The first such bump came yesterday, when a federal judge blocked a part of the law that required abortion providers to place an ultrasound image next to the pregnant women, as well as describe its features and offer a chance to hear a heartbeat.

It's a mandate that's callous, intrusive and costly - not only to the pregnant woman, but to all of us. The state should drop it from the abortion law.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles said that North Carolina officials haven't provided evidence to support their assertions that the law would promote childbirth, and she rightly ridiculed the notion that the provision would protect pregnant women from distress, saying that forcing an ultrasound on them would "harm the psychological health of the very group the state purports to protect."

Plus, Eagles said, there's a bigger issue: The Supreme Court historically frowns upon the government compelling content-based speech. In other words, freedom of speech means having the right not to say something.

It's important to note that Eagles upheld the bulk of the abortion law, which also mandated that a woman wait 24 hours before having an abortion performed so that she can contemplate information about abortion risks and alternatives. The waiting period, which is similar to laws in 20 other states, is a reasonable pause to contemplate a critical decision, but the N.C. law requires that physicians use that 24 hours to inform the patient about items such as risks, alternatives, the age of the baby on the day of the abortion, and that the father would have to pay for child care if she kept the baby. As with the ultrasound, forcing doctors to say these things may run against freedom of speech principles.

If information is what lawmakers want women to have, however, they should also help efforts to educate women on abortion and alternatives. Instead, N.C. legislators approved a bill this summer that targeted Planned Parenthood by attempting to block federal funds for its family planning and teen pregnancy programs. A federal judge said whoa to that piece of spiteful legislation, too.

Eagles has scheduled another hearing on the ultrasound provision for December, and the N.C. attorney general's office said Tuesday that attorneys were reviewing the ruling. We think the attorney general should stop wasting taxpayer dollars defending a flawed regulation, and lawmakers should focus their efforts toward preventing abortions through legitimate counseling and education, not by bullying their way into a doctor's office.

Peter St. Onge



12 comments:

jdshaw said...

The Republican controlled NC House and Senate need to get out of our private lives. Republicans love to hold up the Constitution - but then follow only the select parts they believe in. How about concentrating on job creation, education, and building/maintaining roads. How about getting out of my bedroom!

Twodogz said...

Please don't forget the rights of the unborn child. I believe that life begins at conception. Let's all look out for them.

Joeli said...

Laughable. Trying to limit and stop abortions -- the deliberate ending of a developing human under the convenience "guise" of "woman's choice" -- is seen as spiteful and bullying.

Nevermind the ultimate spite and bullying (abuse) of the sexual reproductive system by dealing with the consequences of sex (by minors, the unmarried or both) by simply scraping out your tubes. You KNOW it's ending a human life, otherwise, why would you bother to go to such lengths to have "that mass of cells" removed?

Brian said...

"It's a mandate that's callous, intrusive and costly - not only to the pregnant woman, but to all of us."

What about the baby? Maybe he doesn't want his picture taken before he is killed. You want to talk about callous? How about a mandate that they have to buy a tombstone and hold funeral services when they decide to kill a baby. Or how about making the people serve time for murdering children. Peter you should be a voice for the voiceless. At least the government is trying in this case. Do you have an ideas on how to stop abortion?

Catholic101 said...

I say, "Bravo" to the ultrasound mandate. What are you afraid of? Information? Does your conscience bother you? Aren't you willing to look "into the eyes" of the child yuou are killing?

Cowards!

Charlottean said...

I agree with Brian and Catholic101 above. I’m disappointed in Mr. St. Onge’s misguided opinion. The reason that pro-abortion advocates are so zealous that expectant mothers not be shown pictures or models of pre-born children is that when mothers see what is being destroyed by abortion, in their hearts they realize that the unborn child is precious. The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine reports that when mothers see an ultrasound image of the child, an emotional bonding takes place even before the child's movement is felt. Just as important, mothers hurt when their babies die. The Feminists for Life organization captures something of this truth with its motto: “Abortion hurts women, kills children and destroys families.”

Larry said...

Strange how people do not mind an abortion for those who do not have a voice.

But when it comes to letting people decide their own exits, as in the case of Kevorkian's clients, they suddenly have a case of a moral dilemma for those people who can think for themselves.

Yes we do notice that folks.

BiBr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BiBr said...

Well said Catholic 101: If looking at the child you are about to murder bothers you, maybe you shouldn't do it in the first place...

Baixiong said...

The US Constitution, like the Bible, is a product of its time.

If we have to tolerate "moral" legislation based on Jewish mythology , then it's only fair to be stuck with an Enlightenment-era definition of rights.

Rights which do not exist before birth.

Twodogz said...

The Bible is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The Constitution was written for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.The Constitution doesn't state anywhere that rights begin after birth. The Bible does say that God knows us even in our Mother's womb. Abortion is the Modern Day Progressive "Do Over". Just like resetting the video game when the game doesn't go the way we want it to. Every decision has consequences. Unwanted pregnancy is the consequence of decisions made by the parents. We have a duty to protect that unborn, voiceless citizen that IS alive in the womb. Those who agree with this need to be more aggressive with our votes to turn this terrible injustice around and make it illegal again.

Charlottean said...

Well said, Twodogz.