an After abortion

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Saturday, June 7, 2003

When does life really begin? from The Guardian.

A worthwhile review of fetal homicide laws, the partial birth abortion ban, the Florida guardianship cases and recent state legislative changes to require pre-abortion counseling.

"However, it has proved difficult to muster opposition to legislation on counselling. Texas passed such a law on May 21. Deceptively called the Women's Right to Know Act, it requires women to flip through photographs of a foetus at various stages of development - even if the pregnancy is the result of incest or rape."

The general attitude that comes through here and elsewhere about counseling legislation is that it is somehow psychologically unsavory or perhaps cruel for a state to ascertain that a woman seeking abortion is aware of what the entity inside her uterus looks like.

When was the last time that a reproductive rights organization celebrated an occasion when a woman left an abortion clinic, baby intact, after studying pictures of fetal development? Never. They seem to feel defeated and annoyed when this happens.

However, my guess is that the bottom-line reason they object to women being shown pictures of fetal development is because they have some elementary understanding that these pictures are likely to have a painful impact, over time, on the woman who stays at the clinic. However, it's surely impossible in our society to endlessly protect a woman from eventually finding out what a small fetus looks like. Surely it's better that she have the opportunity to reflect on the meaning to her of those pictures before she makes this irrevocable decision, than after.

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