The truth about the Sonogram Law

A lengthy article published Sunday by Salon attacks the Texas Sonogram Law as “arcane” legislation “designed to intensify the experience of abortion” rather than help women.

But here’s the truth about the Sonogram Law: the law was put into place to correct a major defect in the way abortion was being practiced in Texas

Pre-Sonogram Law, Planned Parenthood, for example, “did not have licensed sonographers [assisting with abortions],” Christine Melchor, Director of Houston Coalition for Life, told Texas Right to Life.

Christine has parked her mobile sonogram clinic outside of Planned Parenthood in Houston for nearly two years — long enough to know what things were like before the Sonogram Law was passed, and what it’s like for women now that the law is in effect.

“Medical assistants or nurses were taught to take a picture of the top of the baby’s head — which is a round circle, of course — to determine the gestational age of the baby, and thereby determine which abortion procedure to do,” said Christine.

This practice, she said, gave fuel to the myth that unborn babies are “blobs of tissue.” So when women came to her mobile clinic for a sonogram after already receiving one at Planned Parenthood, they were “very, very surprised” to see a baby.

Now that the Sonogram Law is in effect, Christine has noticed fewer cars in Planned Parenthood’s parking lot, while her own clientele has skyrocketed. Nine out of 10 women who come to her for a free sonogram choose to continue their pregnancies. Many of these women intended to schedule an abortion across the street after receiving the sonogram, but didn’t.

Critics of the Sonogram Law, however, have said that making sonogram images available to women before an abortion is nothing more than a cruel mind game, and a medically unnecessary one at that. Salon columnist, Michelle Chen, wrote that although “ultrasounds are routine in prenatal care, providers who criticize the [ultrasound] mandates point out they are rarely medically necessary during the first trimester, when the vast majority of abortions are performed.”

Chen’s claim is misleading. To call abortion “prenatal care” is not only inaccurate, but laughable; and as explained by Christine Melchor, pre-abortion sonograms are necessary in order to determine which abortion procedure is appropriate to use.

But sonograms are also important to ensure a patient’s informed consent. Doctors should see that their patients are well-informed. When abortion centers withhold vital information, they betray women with a paternalistic attitude foreign to modern medicine.

With the most important election for Life just a week and a half away, abortion proponents are feverishly attacking our work. Share this information with your friends, and set the record straight!

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