Study: Ultrasounds don’t stop planned abortions

By David Edwards
Monday, February 6, 2012 13:27 EDT
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Pregnant woman receives ultrasound/sonogram (Shutterstock)
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An ongoing study at the University of California, San Francisco will show that forcing a woman to view a sonogram often does not impact her decision on whether or not to have an abortion.

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences assistant professor Tracy Weitz gave The American Independent a preview of a two studies that will be released later this year by a university project called Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH).

Weitz explained that women had different responses to ultrasounds. Some women were happy to see the image of their fetus, some were sad and others had no emotional response. But seldom did the sonogram deter the woman from going through with the procedure.

Weitz told The American Independent that women should always be given the option to see the ultrasound, but she does not think it should be mandatory.

“Women do really need to be offered the option,” she asserted. “I don’t think people should be afraid that a woman [will want to see the ultrasound]. For some women, it’s an important experience.”

Weitz first previewed the study in August of 2010 during a lecture titled “The Misuse of Science in Abortion Restrictions.”

“Women do not have abortions because they believe the fetus is not a human or because they don’t know the truth,” her presentation explained. In fact, she found that 60 percent of abortion patients had previously delivered a child and most women “have abortions because of the material conditions conditions of their lives.”

The Guttmacher Institute says (PDF) that as of last week, 11 states require patients to be notified on accessing ultrasound services, seven states require that an ultrasound be preformed and the woman be offered an opportunity to view it, nine states require that the woman be offered a chance to view the ultrasound if it is performed as part of the abortion procedure, and five states simply require that the woman is provided an opportunity to see an ultrasound image.

Texas, Oklahoma and North Carolina have passed the most restrictive ultrasound laws requiring the ultrasound image be described and displayed regardless of a woman desire to have it. Although those laws have been temporarily blocked in Oklahoma and North Carolina, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that Texas could move forward with enforcing their law.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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