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Texan women gain the right to see a scan before an abortion

The Daily Telegraph has published an article, including a poll on their website.  We urge readers to vote.

In January, the  state of Texas made a change to their legislation so that women seeking an abortion should be offered the chance to see a scan of their unborn baby beforehand. 

Texas is well-known (along with Ohio) as having an overtly pro-life approach to abortion and the requirement to provide ultrasound is the latest addition to their legislation.

The Daily Telegraph headline gives the misleading impression that Texas is ‘forcing’ women to see the scan.  In fact the legislation places an obligation on the doctor performing the abortion to obtain informed consent.  There is no obligation for anybody asking for abortion to view the ultrasound but they must listen to the doctor’s verbal explanation unless they are covered by one of the 3 exemption clauses (rape, underage, or fetal abnormality).  If not within these categories, women are expected to listen but do not have to look.   

One could argue cogently that Texas is treating abortion like any other medical procedure.  The medical professional always has a duty to fully inform the patient of what is being done.  Under any other circumstances this requirement would not be considered unusual, in fact it would be considered an ethical obligation.  The duty to provide ultrasound will seem invasive for those who defend abortion as a right but from our pro-life perspective we would say it is appropriate that patients know as much about abortion as they would about any other operation.  

It is an opportunity also to give the second patient (the developing baby) a chance to be in the picture.  The ProLife Alliance is often approached by women who regret their abortions and express the wish that they had known more about fetal development before rushing into the abortion clinic.   

We need to remind the UK public that legally abortion is not a right in the UK.  It remains illegal to kill the unborn child unless certain requirements are met.  In Texas they have simply added a further requirement.