Political guilt trip is not the right way to address abortion

Senate Bill 16 (SB 16), dubbed as the ‘Pre-abortion Sonogram Bill,’ was passed by the Texas Senate last Thursday. It has now been sent down to the Texas House of Representatives where, given the current supermajority of Republicans, it will almost assuredly pass with little or no further revisions.

In its current form, the bill states that any woman who wishes to get an abortion must first undergo an ultrasound and have both the visual and audio content from it made available to her. Further, and far more disturbing, the mother must have the fetus’ features described to her by a doctor in detail – even if they don’t wish to hear it. After all of this is complete, the mother must wait a minimum of two hours before she will be legally allowed to get the abortion.

Let’s assume for a second that this bill is intended to achieve anything more than strong-arming the Republican’s religion-centered idealism down the throats of helpless young women. Is whatever good they are trying to achieve really enough to counteract the incomprehensible evil of the mental scarring that such a bill would impart upon an already distraught young woman?

Taking out religion, as our constitution dictates we must, there is no logical reasoning for this bill. Clearly, the bill would at least slightly decrease the abortion rates in Texas, which could be argued to be a very positive thing. But at what cost?

For those that do decide to walk out of the clinic, they are left with a child who, prior to the sonogram, the mother had logically concluded she could not adequately care for. Any change of mind after the imposed sonogram would be purely based on emotion – something that is generally not wise to base long-term, life-changing decisions on.

Then there is the other group: the women who do decide to go through with the procedure after seeing the sonogram. In those cases, the women who were forced to make a heart-breaking decision before visiting the clinic will now be laden with the additional, unnecessary burden of having their unborn child’s description burned into their mind. How can the infliction of this additional pain on these women possibly be justified?

Finally, there’s the money. Who will pay for this extra expense that this bill adds to the cost of an abortion? With Texas’ debt steadily piling up, there is no chance of the state picking up the tab. And think about the population that generally goes in for abortions.

In general, this is a population made up of low-income people who can barely afford the abortion in its current state, let alone with additional costs tacked on to cover a sonogram and a doctor’s time to sit in there and describe the fetus. Additionally, the two extra hours required by the bill might be enough to force a woman, already struggling to make ends meet, forgo the trip which would cost her more working hours than she can afford.

SB 16 may be aimed at protecting the unborn, but, with the inherent cost to the born, it is a net loss to our state.