04 February 2008

South Dakota sonogram harassment

The South Dakota House and Senate recently passed a bill requiring doctors to offer pregnant women sonograms before they decide to have an abortion. If the woman refuses to 'see' her 'baby', she must sign a form indicating she has been offered the technology.

According to a number of conservative male legislators, the use of the ultrasound in this particular encounter is supposed to encourage women to keep their fetuses because 'seeing' a fetus as a 'baby' and 'not just a blob of tissue' will clearly overwhelm women who are ambivalent about motherhood with maternal feelings.

One female senator has called this 'harassment', and rightly so.

Isn't it interesting that pregnancy can be received so differently just on the basis of whether the pregnancy is wanted or not? For women who want to be pregnant, a little 'blob of tissue' on a screen is a 'baby'. For women who have found themselves uncomfortably pregnant, that same blob of tissue might be perceived as an alien or even a parasite. With regard to the fetus, as a number of feminist scholars have suggested in light of the abortion debate, the increasing use of sophisticated imaging technology is dangerous precisely because of what is happening in South Dakota. Personhood, as in many 'non-Western' cultures is not conferred upon birth when a child is welcomed into a community. Rather, personhood is conferred upon 'seeing' a fetus as early as 4 weeks in some cases simply because we have the technology to do so. As such, the mother's identity/personhood is eclipsed in favour of the fetus and her body is perceived as merely a receptacle for life, without regard for her own.

Source: http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2008/01/29/news/top/doc479f941307871396515177.txt

1 comment:

AvoidTheRedShoes said...

I do not see this as harassment. I believe that a patient should have to be offered all possible information about their condition and procedures that will be performed on them. I think it would be a good requirement that the information at least be offered to them, and from the sound of it that information can be refused. If a woman sees that blob with a head and heart as "tissue" no one will stop her from having it removed from her body. But while some women recover well from their abortions, some are left with emotional damage. I know some grown women who cry at night from the biggest regret they've ever known. And maybe those type of women would have benefit from such information.

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