Thursday, February 9, 2012

Texas Sonograms Revisited

Lemond:         Remember, Gene, keep things with the Senator on a need-to-know basis.
Ryack:            Oh, you mean treat him like a mushroom: keep him in the dark, and feed him a lot of shit.
—Ken Jenkins as Major Donald Lemond, and Mel Gibson as Gene Ryack in Air America

Somebody’s gotta call these people out on this.

I’ve posted before on the new Texas sonogram law, which after the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an injunction by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, took effect yesterday.  There was much hue and cry in the local press over the coming Nazi intrusion into the sanctity of the patient/physician relationship, and hand-wringing over how we were unfairly demonizing and tormenting women by forcing them to view sonograms and listen to heartbeats. 

Oh, the horror of human life.

Apparently confirming what a monstrosity this law is, the Houston Chronicle yesterday morning ran a front page, eight column piece titled “Sonograms evoke strong emotions as law takes effect” (electronic version here).  The story led with three consecutive paragraphs describing the devastating reaction of women being forced against their will to look at and listen to the lives they were contemplating ending:

Some women covered their ears as the sounds of fetal heartbeats echoed into their exam rooms at a Houston abortion clinic.
            Others tried to drown out the noise with their own voices, said Planned Parenthood officials, nervously humming or talking over the sounds of fetuses in their wombs.  Still others turned their heads away from ultrasound images, an effort to opt out of part of the state’s new sonogram requirement for abortions, which the Department of State Health Services began enforcing Tuesday.
            “These patients are livid, they are hurt,” said Tram Nguyen, director of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, describing recent scenes at her Houston clinic.  “They feel that we are the ones being condescending and questioning their decision when we are just messengers.”

It’s no surprise to find Planned Parenthood behind the article, although query how Planned Parenthood officials know how women were reacting in the exam rooms, given their supposed worship of the privacy of the patient/physician relationship.  Presumably they weren’t in the room to see it, and the doctors who were shouldn’t be talking.  But I digress.

The article is clearly intended to leave the impression that the Evil State of Texas is forcing these poor women to endure images and sounds they don’t want to experience.  Of course, the authors are simply shining a bright light on the Religious Right’s heavy-handed attempt at “shaming and bullying” women into not exercising their God-given right to an abortion, and we have to protect against that, right?  Never mind that the Fifth Circuit has ruled on that right vis-à-vis the State’s compelling interest in protecting human life. 

But what continues to irritate me with all this noise about forcing women to experience these things is the Chronicle’s and Planned Parenthood’s obvious and deliberate lie by omission:

The Texas statute doesn’t require women to view the sonogram or hear the heartbeat.

Don’t take my word for it; here’s Texas Health & Safety Code § 171.0122, added last year as part of the new sonogram law, in full and without any added emphasis or commentary from me:

*  *  *
171.0122.  Viewing Printed Materials and Sonogram Image; Hearing Heart Auscultation or Verbal Explanation.
            (a)  A pregnant woman may choose not to view the printed materials provided under Section 171.012(a)(3) after she has been provided the materials.
            (b)        A pregnant woman may choose not to view the sonogram images required to be provided to and reviewed with the pregnant woman under Section 171.012(a)(4).
            (c)        A pregnant woman may choose not to hear the heart auscultation required to be provided to and reviewed with the pregnant woman under Section 171.012(a)(4).
            (d)       A pregnant woman may choose not to receive the verbal explanation of the results of the sonogram images under Section 171.012(a)(4)(C) if:
            (1)        the woman’s pregnancy is a result of sexual assault, incest, or other violation of the Penal Code that has been reported to law enforcement authorities or that has not been reported because she has reason that she declines to reveal because she reasonably believes that to do so would put her at risk of retaliation resulting in serious bodily injury;
            (2)        the woman is a minor and obtaining an abortion in accordance with judicial bypass procedures under Chapter 33, Family Code; or
            (3)        the fetus has an irreversible medical condition or abnormality, as previously identified by reliable diagnostic procedures and documented in the woman’s medical file.
            (e)        The physician and the pregnant woman are not subject to a penalty under this chapter solely because the pregnant woman chooses not to view the printed materials or the sonogram images, hear the heart auscultation, or receive the verbal explanation, if waived as provided in this section.

*  *  *
I don’t know how our Legislature could have been more clear:

“A pregnant woman may choose not to . . .”

“A pregnant woman may choose not to . . .”

“A pregnant woman may choose not to . . .”

“A pregnant woman may choose not to . . .”

The Texas statute not only didn’t require the women described in yesterday’s article to endure the sonogram images or heartbeat audio if they didn’t want to, IT AFFIRMATIVELY SAID THEY COULD CHOOSE NOT TO.  But this fact conveniently doesn’t appear until the next-to-last paragraph of a two-page article, and it begs the question why so many women were supposedly “livid” and “hurt” about being involuntarily subjected to these images and sounds.  Taking the Chronicle story at face value, one has to conclude that Planned Parenthood simply didn’t tell the women in their examination rooms that the law gave them a right to opt out.  Indeed, although the Chronicle eventually notes that “women do have the option to request that the ultrasound volume be turned off”—no mention of the sonogram images—it does so at the end of a sentence that begins by saying that Planned Parenthood has been playing the fetal heartbeats for “all women who undergo the mandated sonograms.”  Nothing in the article says that Planned Parenthood is actually advising them of their right to decline.

Am I suggesting that Planned Parenthood would deliberately keep women in the dark?

Don’t be ridiculous.

As a for-a-fee abortion provider, Planned Parenthood has no financial stake in doing such a thing, so why should I question its motives in how it goes about complying with Texas law?  And I wouldn’t suggest that Planned Parenthood might manipulate women into a negative reaction in order to drive opposition to the statute.  No, that’s thoroughly and utterly absurd.

But now that you mention it . . . 

Let the facts speak for themselves.  First, Planned Parenthood, along with like-minded organizations like The Center for Reproductive Rights, argued to the ends of the earth to prevent the State of Texas from ensuring that women had access to potentially relevant information as they make their decision whether to have the abortion.  Having lost that battle, it now appears Planned Parenthood is deliberately avoiding advising women of their right to decline that information, thus forcibly inflicting it upon women who did not want it and had a right under the law to avoid it if they so chose—in the process placing itself in the very bully role in which it disingenuously attempted to cast the State.  At both turns, Planned Parenthood has worked to keep women as ignorant as possible, presumably in order to advance its own agenda and self-interest. 

Why it’s simply beyond all imagining.

The fact is the new Texas law does not require women to view sonograms or hear heartbeats; it requires that those things be made available sufficiently in advance for women to be able to absorb the information—if they choose—in making their decision.  But Planned Parenthood and their media accomplices on the Left are so blindly wed to their ideological point they’ll not only ignore that truth, but apparently will lie by omission to cover it up when it matters most.  And what I can’t understand is how so many, particularly women, continue to listen to and follow these people on this issue when it’s so easily demonstrated that these people are lying to them.  When do they wake up and ask, if you’re so into helping me and defending my rights on this, why do you keep lying to me about it?  Why are you so keenly interested that I not only have the right to obtain an abortion, but in ensuring that I actually get one—even if you have to deceive me to do it?

As I posted a couple of weeks ago on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, abortion undeniably terminates a human life.  Sonogram images and heartbeat audio are the most compelling evidence of that fact.  Assuming the reactions described in today’s Chronicle piece are accurately depicted, they confirm this and demonstrate that we as human beings know, viscerally, that what’s about to happen with an abortion is simply wrong.  Wrong at the deepest, most fundamental level.  So wrong that the only way we can go through with it is to remain deliberately, consciously, actively ignorant of the truth.

Which, of course, is exactly where those in the business of taking your money to provide an abortion and others on the Left want you.

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