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The Ultimate in Ultrasounds

By       Message Jayne Lyn Stahl       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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Clearly, someone isn't thinking soundly in the South Carolina legislature given this week's passage, by a whopping 91-23 , of a bill that will require a woman, before having an abortion, to view ultrasound images of the fetus. The measure, which now goes to the state senate, does allow for rape and incest as exceptions to what can only be seen as an horrific, and medieval ordeal, and one that is tantamount to psychological waterboarding. While South Carolina isn't the only state giving a woman the option to look at an ultrasound of the fetus in her womb, it is the only state that mandates this procedure.  (AP)  All those for whom the words "civil rights" still resonate cannot afford to be anything less than outraged by this bill, and those who support it.   

Apart from the obvious, and egregious, attempt to intimidate, and mortify a woman when she is at her most vulnerable, there are serious flaws in the logic underlying such a proposal . Think, for a moment, about the legal viability of requiring members of our armed forces, as part of boot camp, to sit through hours of footage showing the bombing of Hiroshima., that is unless you think it's okay to blow up a city, and many thousands of its civilians. Or, better still, how about playing a DVD featuring a corpse in advanced stages of rigor mortis before administering the death penalty? But, then , of course, these folks who consider abortion murder, by and large, have no problem with bombing the hell out of Baghdad, Beirut, Tehran ... these folks who want to deny a woman the right to choose claim that abortion means killing an unborn child have no problem with killing an adult man, or woman, on death row, in a thatched hut in southeast Asia, or in Iraq.

What eludes me is this: why is it that those who speak the loudest about protecting an unborn life don't give a damn about putting an innocent man to death for a crime he didn't commit? Why don't they apply their "ultrasound argument" to capital punishment, and insist that a convict who might otherwise be sentenced to lethal injection be forced to endure reels of footage reenacting not merely his crime, but every major event in the lives of his victims? But, of course, this would never be allowed. Why? It would go under the heading "cruel and unusual punishment," a phrase these "right to lifers" have perverted just as they have that of torture, and due process, but forcing a woman to look at ultrasound images of a pregnancy she feels she must terminate, does that not also constitute cruel and unusual punishment?

Anyone who thinks that this primitive, and deeply disturbing act of coercion will make a woman change her mind has no respect for the native intelligence, sense, and sensitivity of those who gave them life. This is about way more than terminating a pregnancy. Whether we agree with legalized abortion or not, anyone who supports neanderthal bills like this doesn't respect the right to privacy, and independent decision-making guaranteed us by the Constitution, and instead supports allowing the state to interfere, in a most insidious way, in what is, and must remain, a deeply private process. More importantly, we find here the seed of crime; the crime of contempt for the rights of the living in favor of those of the unborn and, by extension, contempt for the lives of those who serve in favor of those who profit from their service. Make no mistake, the right to choose is among our most fundamental, and inalienable civil rights.
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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.

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