Ultrasound, Ultra-Truth

Cal Thomas

3/6/2012 12:01:00 AM - Cal Thomas

"Seeing is believing" is an ancient idiom. It teaches that a dispute can often be resolved by presenting physical evidence.

Opponents of the ultrasound bill passed last week by the Virginia legislature and expected to be signed soon by Governor Bob McDonnell, thought they could stop the measure because they said it would require an invasive vaginal probe to determine the age of the fetus in an early-stage pregnancy. The bill passed after it was modified to mandate only a non-invasive procedure.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, Virginia will join seven other states "that mandate that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion, and require the provider to offer the woman the opportunity to view the image."

Before other surgeries, doctors and hospitals must present information to patients who are then required to sign documents consenting to the procedure. No one would deny women access to information about a kidney transplant. So then for abortions, as part of this information-providing process, why shouldn't ultrasound images be included? Shouldn't abortion-seeking women see the life they are about to end?

The debate in Virginia and elsewhere over ultrasound legislation should include the voices of women who favor ultrasound laws.

The media speak of "women" as a monolithic group who consistently subscribe to the liberal-secular line. But there are many women -- I have met a few -- whose voices are rarely, if ever, heard. These women either decided to give birth after seeing an ultrasound image, or regretted having had an abortion and would testify that if they had seen an ultrasound image before the procedure they would have made a different choice. Does not seeing an ultrasound image change the reality of abortion?

There are several websites featuring testimonies from some of these pro-ultrasound women. One is: http://www.projectultrasound.org/testimonies.html.

Why would anyone want to deprive women of the joy they experience after seeing a picture of their baby and deciding to preserve their baby's life? Why would anyone not want to protect these women from the pain many have experienced from not seeing a picture and going forward with the abortion, only to later regret it?

In Britain, two "medical ethicists" associated with Oxford University have published an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics entitled "After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?" which asserts that newborn babies are not "actual persons" and thus do not have a "moral right to life." As reported in the London Daily Telegraph, the professors argue, "Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are 'morally irrelevant' and ending their lives is no different to abortion." The authors, Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, maintain that "killing a newborn should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled."

The Telegraph story quotes Giubilini and Minerva: "The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual. Rather than being 'actual persons,' newborns were 'potential persons'." They explained: "Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a 'person' in the sense of 'subject of a moral right to life'."

Let's hear "pro-choicers" argue against infanticide and present their reasons for doing so. Having ceded any moral high ground that defines human life as distinct from animal life, though some do equate the two, on what basis do they say "no" to the ethicists' argument? They have no basis.

This is where our indifference to human life and its Creator has led us. Requiring ultrasounds before a woman has an abortion will help restore recognition of a baby's right to live and of our own humanity.