The state of Virginia is in the news for a controversial bill requiring any doctor performing an abortion to first perform an ultrasound and provide the patient with both a picture of the fetus and an audio of the heartbeat. Please understand two things as I proceed: I am libertarian leaning in my political views and I believe that abortion is murder. That being said, both sides of this particular bill controversy are being disingenuous and in so doing are damaging their own causes.
Because I am conservative, as are most of the seven of you reading this post, I’m going to start with the writers of this bill. It’s always easier to throw stones at the “other side” and I don’t want to fall into that trap; but stick with me, because there are stones a plenty to go around.
When dealing with a huge social issue like abortion, I understand the need to break it into manageable chunks. William Wilberforce is a great example of the efficacy of this approach in his efforts to abolish slavery in the United Kingdom; but Wilberforce understood, as I fear the token-pro-life-for-votes-only crowd do not, that this sort of approach must be strategic. There is nothing in the Virgina bill that moves any one any closer to defining abortion as murder. There is nothing in this legislation that will make the business of abortion any less lucrative in this country. The only thing that this piece of grand standing does is to reinforce the stereo-type that pro-life really means anti-women. This bill, which claims to be “pro-life” has actually removed the true moral issues of life and death from the debate and by doing so has essentially abandoned their cause.
Oh, but the other side has also committed a grievous error. The primary complaint being leveled against this bill is that a trans-vaginal ultrasound is far too invasive a procedure.
(caution, I’m about to get a little graphic)
Let me tell you, right here, that in all my years of trying to have babies I have had a LOT of trans-vaginal ultrasounds, and they are uncomfortable, sometimes painful and just generally unpleasant. The first one came as quite a shock to me, because all I had been told was that I would need to have an ultrasound to determine the size of my ovarian follicles. No one explained the type of ultrasound. I didn’t have to consent to anything. It’s no more invasive, from a purely medical definition, than drawing blood, or swabbing for strep. I really don’t think anyone should be required by law to have one, but medically speaking this is not a high risk activity. An abortion, on the other hand, requires the insertion of five separate objects into the vagina, two of which pass past the cervix. It is medically defined as surgery (out patient) and is invasive.
Again, in my years of the pursuit of fertility, I underwent a D&C, which is the same procedure, without a fetus present – among several other surgical procedures in the attempt to diagnose the cause of my infertility. I also had six to eight trans-vaginal ultrasounds a month for twelve months. After each one, I left the office and went to work. After the D&C I went home and went to bed and took a day to recover. Everything the pro-abortion advocates are claiming about the trans-vaginal ultrasound actually applies to abortion, and no one is calling them on that. Just as the bill itself does nothing for the actual cause of banning abortion, the complaints against it do nothing in the way of making abortion appear to be the quiet simple procedure the pro-abortion crowd wants it to be.
In essence, we can thank the Virginia house of representatives for unintentionally shining a light on the tattered remains that has become the abortion debate. Maybe, if we let it, this can help us as a society actually do what it takes to protect the lives and health of unborn babies AND their mothers.