AbortionShould a Texas woman wanting an abortion be forced to undergo a sonogram and view the results before having the procedure?Governor Perry and the Texas legislature think so.In May 2011, the...


Should a Texas woman wanting an abortion be forced to undergo a sonogram and view the results before having the procedure?Governor Perry and the Texas legislature think so.In May 2011, the legislature passed and the governor signed legislation requiring a pre-abortion sonogram in most cases. If you were a member of the Texas legislature, would you vote for or against the measure?Why?

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Surely the factors that a woman should "carefully consider" should be factors of her own choosing, not factors imposed upon her by the government.  We do not legislate people into being educated on the choices they make in their lives, including marital choices, which might make more sense, actually.  And in fact, many of the people who would vote for this statute are the very same people who do not want teens to be educated about sex and birth control, advocating "abstinence only" programs that result in teen pregnancies that are not supposed to be terminated because people are more pro-life about a few cells than they are about the teens who are supposed to simply endure having their lives destroyed. To me, there is some dreadful irony in this.  This is simply one more effort to make it difficult to exercise one's legal right to choose.  People who oppose abortion should not have abortions, and I fully support their right to not do so.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am Pro-life, and I think I would vote for the measure.  I understand what others are saying about it being a "forced" event which could be traumatic.  However, abortion should not be taken lightly.  In the US alone, hundreds of thousands of babies are thrown away every year.  No one "forced" the woman to engage in activity which would cause pregnancy (unless, of course, the woman was raped), so therefore, the decision to abort should be a carefully considered one where all options are explored.  After all, abortion would still be an option, only the stipulation of an ultrasound would be attached.  She could still choose to abort after the ultrasound, but many do not understand that a fetus is a life...a living, breathing, moving being...just days after conception.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Kiwi makes a good point - it would be beneficial if the father of an unborn child also had to actually see the result of his action and consider what is being proposed. Unfortunately, it's the woman who is directly involved and therefore easily forced into immediate consideration of the procedure.

I do not feel requiring the sonogram should be required. I do feel that if we as a society want to do more to help children born as a result of unwanted pregnancies, we need to look at our systems of education and support for potential parents and their families. Pregnancy prevention and presentation of alternatives requires more than punishment (even if it's not called such, that is what it is intended to be) handed down by state legislation.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Regardless of stance on the issue of abortion, whether pro or con, there is a decided element of coercion in the proposed measure to require a woman undergo and examine the results of a sonogram. There are many instances in which government may require medical procedures for the health and safety of individuals and communities, for example, vaccines for travel in some foreign countries and blood tests prior to wedding ceremonies, but in no previous instance has regulation had a psychological element plainly meant to coerce or--if seen in the best light--persuade.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I can see that idea behind it, but as a woman I can't agree. She should be offered the chance to view a sonogram but not forced to see it. If a woman was giving her child up for adoption, she would not be forced to see the sonogram. I don't believe the government should have this type of control over our health care and privacy. However, I can understand other additions to laws like this. For instance, a bill was recently passed in another state that requires a 24 hour waiting period for an abortion. The woman must wait after consulting a doctor before the procedure can take place. I can understand this type of law because it is a major life changing decision.
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am also pro-life and I think I would also vote for the bill. Though I agree that this measure seems a bit draconian, the intent is to make sure women take the time to consider the ramifications of this decision. If I remember correctly, North Carolina just passed a similar kind of law, requiring that women who want an abortion must see a counselor and wait twenty-four hours. Perhaps talking with someone--who I assume will present the alternatives to and consequences of abortion--and taking an extra day to contemplate would be a more effective choice.

boblawrence eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would vote against.  Such an idea is typical religious-right intrusion, which I find highly offensive.  Why not force the woman look at the pieces of the fetus as they are curretted out?  Then she would feel even more guilty than she would after seeing the fetal heart beating on the sonogram. It's bad enough to try to deprive a woman of choice, and reprehensible, in my opinion to punish a woman in this way for choosing abortion. God knows how stressful an unwanted pregnancy must be.  Please, let's not add to her suffering.

megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would vote against the measure. It is an intrusion of privacy. If a woman is not financially or emotionall ready to have a child, forcing her to have this procedure may cause her even more stress, judgement from others, and expenses. If the state wants to really get involved, perhaps they should consider more resources for women who choose to have the babies because having a child is incredibly expensive and some women could use more help.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, she should not.  Abortions are legal, and women should not be required to submit to another's code of morality or religious belief when it comes to something that is legal.  I agree with poster #7 about state resources being directed towards more proactive methods of reducing abortions such as reducing unplanned pregnancies and increasing public awareness and education about the access to and proper use of birth control.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would be inclined to vote against such a measure. It is clearly intended to dissuade the woman from exercising her right to abort her child. While I may not agree with her decision to abort, it is first and last her decision. I have no problem with doctors or others attempting to change her mind; but I have serious problems with a state ordered effort to do so. This to me in itself borders on an invasion of privacy.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 It is indeed a terrible invasion of the woman's privacy and is emotionally damaging. I do not think that abortion should ever be taken lightly, but when the rest of the legal procedures in gaining approval from a doctor,etc, the experience is traumatic enough for the woman.

I wonder if there would be a similar torment devised for the father of the unborn child? Of course not...

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This seems pretty barbaric.  The law suggests that a women be harassed.  You cannot legislate morality when it comes to abortion.  In this country, it is legal.  There is no reason a mother should not have all the information, but there is no reason to put her through that.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since I am pro-choice on the abortion topic, I would be voting against the measure if I was a Texas legislator. I don't believe the government--state or federal--should have a say in such a personal decision. Hopefully this bill will be repealed at some point. 

truthseekah | Student

It is harassment if abortions are legal.  I think that's pretty clear.

sarahsaurusrex | Student

I strongly believe that the government should not have any control over what anyone decides to do with their body. I am pro-choice on the issue of abortion, so if a woman were to decide that it is best for her to have one, then she should be allowed to. No one except for that woman knows every detail about WHY she feels she needs to get an abortion. So, how would it be fair to make a law about what women can and cannot do when faced with a decision like that? Having a sonogram would not change her opinion, most likely. If she is intent on having the procedure, then I say let her do it. I would most definitely vote against such a law because, as i said before, what anyone chooses to do with their own body should be their right. they should not be subjected to a pre-abortion sonogram to view the results. This seems like an effort to get the mothers to feel bad and regret the decision they have made after they see the results. Let the mother do what she feels is best. The process of making the decision of an abortion is hard enough without having to be subjected to debate and pre-abortion procedures. It is an invasion of privacy.