Knowledge is power. Especially when it comes to Courts and lawyers. Knowing that the baby who might be aborted is not just a lifeless “tissue” or “product of pregnancy” is bound to change hearts and minds. Someday, abortion will be thought of in the same way that we think of slavery.
Legal scholar Hadley Arkes believes that the groundwork for a powerful challenge to legal abortion has been laid, in a judicial decision affirming the “informed consent” law in Texas.
Judge Edith Jones wrote a carefully reasoned decision in Texas Medical Providers v. Lakey, Arkes writes. Her decision, emphasizing that the new Texas law does not place any barriers in front of a woman seeking an abortion, is very likely to withstand a Supreme Court challenge, Arkes believes.
Beyond the judicial sphere, the Texas precedent should encourage legislators to consider bills that protect the unborn without directly challenging the Roe v. Wade precedent, Arkes suggests.
That move is bound to set off crippling tensions within the party of abortion in Congress. They are the tensions that could make that party come apart, and bring us to the beginning of the End.
Texas has already determined that it’s wise to regulate doctors, medicines and surgical procedures. In the case of the abortion laws and sonogram requirements, the rules for action are placed on the doctor doing the procedures. The doctor is the only one being “made” to do anything.
We have a 2005 State law mandating 24 hour waiting period and a set of steps to ensure that the patient, the woman who is going to have an abortion, receives thorough informed consent. Texas also protects other patients with regulations requiring specific informed consent for sterilizations, hysterectomies, radiation therapy and electric shock therapy. These procedures are often performed on patients who may be vulnerable to outside influence (by the doctor or family members pr social expectations) and all carry risks of permanent harm and consequences that the patient should know about.
The Sonogram Bill ensures that the woman seeking an abortion will meet the doctor who will perform the abortion and that the physician will tell her the status of her pregnancy and the development of baby, all before she’s sedated and in a gown, before she’s up in the stirrups.
Who would go for any treatment without first meeting the doctor? Would you consider it “punishment” or “shaming,” much less based on some “religious value” to enforce Texas’ similar informed consent laws for patients about to undergo radiation therapy, electric shock therapy, or a hysterectomy? Where’s the outrage about shaming or frightening the smoker when the doc sits down to explain why you need bypass surgery?
Would any one argue that the man who goes in for radiation therapy does not know that he might have cancer cells remaining in his body? Or that a woman doesn’t know that she won’t ever be able to have children again if she has a hysterectomy? (We’ll skip the problems with consent for electric shock therapy.)
The Bill is reminds me of our earlier fights to allow patients to own their own medical information, to make our own choices with full, informed consent. It’s patronizing to tell women seeking abortion that they don’t need to see their own sonogram or to consider sharing her medical information with her as interference by the State.