by Jill Morrison
South Carolina almost became the first state to require a woman to have and look at an ultrasound before terminating her pregnancy. Fortunately, the SC attorney general agreed with advocates that forcing a woman to undergo a medically unnecessary procedure and view an image against her will is unconstitutional.
One of the current trends in restricting access to abortion is to say that the new law or regulation is needed to make sure women have full “informed consent.” A majority of states already have “informed consent” laws for abortion that go far beyond what is required for other medical procedures, and provide women with biased and medically inaccurate information. Now anti-choice activists are trying to make these laws even more burdensome. We’ve already blogged about a South Dakota law that, in the guise of “informed consent,” would impose a particular ideology on women seeking abortions.
Don’t believe for one second that these laws are about women’s health or improving their knowledge of medical procedures. Rather, laws such as this are based on the presumption that women aren’t thoughtful about their decision to terminate a pregnancy. Doctors already have a duty to provide all of the information that women need to make sound medical decisions, and to perform all medically necessary tests. The other information that a woman needs in making the abortion decision is information that only she has. Kudos to all of those in South Carolina who didn’t fall for this poorly-disguised attack on the right to choose.