Oklahoma State Senate Passes the Heartbeat Informed Consent Act
Mallory Carlberg - Tuesday, the Oklahoma state Senate passed a bill requiring a doctor to tell a person seeking an abortion that they have the right to hear the heartbeat of the fetus before the pregnancy is terminated. The bill passed 34-8 and will now go to the House. Originally, SB 1274 required the person to actually hear the heartbeat, but the bill’s author Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, amended it. Perhaps given the current political climate in Oklahoma, he was afraid the original version would spark controversy similar to the ultrasound bill that the legislature passed in 2010?
When asked to comment, Newberry made no attempt to justify the bill on any grounds other than dissuading people from obtaining abortions:
The heartbeat is the only way for a fetus to communicate that it wants to live, Newberry said.
“It can’t say please don’t kill me, it can’t say I want to live. It can’t say anything,” he said.
Newberry’s bizarre fetishization of fetuses aside, the vast majority of pregnancies are terminated in the first trimester when zygotes and fetuses don’t have the functional capactiy to think, consciously communicate or feel anything. Dan Newberry and other “pro-life” Republicans in our state don’t care about a pregnant person’s belief systems or the economic, psychological and emotional circumstances which might lead someone to terminate a pregnancy. Oklahoma lawmakers have proved over and over that the purpose behind abortion restrictions is not protection of women’s health, which is the usual stated purpose behind these bills, but protection of fertilized eggs, zygotes and fetuses – the people who nurture that life be damned.
*Pregnant people, not just cis women.
That quote is both disturbing and incredibly telling. It’s obvious these medically unnecessary and expensive procedures they are mandating are meant as punitive obstacles rather than “informative.” There’s a reason embryos can’t fucking talk to me. Even if they could, it wouldn’t matter. I don’t need an embryo’s permission to obtain medical care I’m entitled to, nor do I need to have a conversation with it. JFC. And again, 78.9% of abortions occur during the embryonic period, so there isn’t even a fetus yet—it’s an embryo.
Mandating sonograms creates for “pro-choicers” an impossible intellectual, not to mention moral, dilemma. If they oppose women receiving information, they are censors. Pro-lifers are aligning themselves with truth in labeling and truth in lending laws requiring that information be provided to women (and men) in order to help make decisions presumed to be in their best interests.
When abortion proponents stand in the way of women receiving information about such a critical decision, they place themselves where they say conservatives reside, in the land of intolerance and ignorance.
The response to this proposed legislation goes something like this: “You are insulting the intelligence of women who are smart enough to figure out these things on their own.”
“Fine,” I say, “then let’s remove labels from cans, bottles, and packages and do away with paperwork at the bank when a woman applies for a loan. Let’s also rip Monroney stickers off vehicles at car dealerships because women should be smart enough to figure out the price, options, and miles per gallon on their own.”
The reason abortion proponents don’t want women to see what their babies look like in the womb is because, for too many of them, abortion has become a sacrament. They embrace a right to kill while simultaneously denying the right to life. Showing a pregnant woman a picture of her baby in the womb, heart beating, can only enhance the possibility that the child will be given the opportunity to live.
“Pro-lifers are aligning themselves with truth in labeling and truth in lending laws requiring that information be provided to women…”
When is that ever true?
Certainly not in this situation.
How is guilt-tripping a person from their rational way of thinking in terms of whether or not to continue a pregnancy a good thing? Ever?
How is it information? Knowing what the fetus looks like is not the same thing as knowing all that you need to know about a car you will buy. That’s just not logical in the slightest.
What a joke.
This is ridiculous. We’re not trying to make it illegal for pregnant people to view an ultrasound, we just happen to know the difference between an option and a mandate. You’re not giving people the option to view additional information, you’re making it mandatory, despite the fact that they might not want to see it.
Further, research has shown that pregnant people when given the option (not the mandate) to look at an ultrasound image choose to do so. And rather than deter them from their decision, it’s comes as a relief because it looks nothing like the antichoice fetus gore pr0n you shoved in their faces on their way into the clinic. Virtually no one changes their minds after viewing an ultrasound image freely. Further, many pregnant people choose to view the products of conception after the procedure, and few regret that choice either or consider it traumatic. Do you know why? Because by the time a pregnant person has made the call to the clinic, gotten an appointment, traveled to the clinic, filled out paperwork, and sat in a waiting room for 30 minutes, they tend to have their minds made up. Given the antichoice climate of the United States right now, many people capable of getting pregnant already know what they will do before they’re even pregnant.
[Ellen] Wiebe has done some of the few studies worldwide that attempt to look at women’s reactions to viewing an ultrasound pre-abortion. The research can’t speak directly to laws like the proposed Texas bill, Wiebe told LiveScience, because in that study “nobody was ever forced to do something they didn’t want to do.” But it is the closest thing to research anyone has ever done on state sonogram policies.
The study, published in 2009 in the European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, found that, when given the option, 72 percent of women chose to view the sonogram image. Of those, 86 percent said it was a positive experience. None changed their mind about the abortion.
In another study, this one published in 2009 in the journal Contraception, Wiebe analyzed how many women chose to look at the embryonic or fetal tissue removed during an abortion. Only about 28 percent of women were interested – “they’re curious,” Wiebe said – but of those, 83 percent said that viewing the embryo or fetus did not make the process more emotionally difficult. (source)
What people like you don’t seem to understand is that there’s a huge difference between freely viewing an ultrasound and being forced to by the government. It’s condescending and paternalistic to act like pregnant people don’t know what an abortion does or that they have an embryo inside of them that could develop into a fetus that if born will be a human baby. Please. Further, what about all the people that would decline the option of viewing the ultrasound for a multitude of personal reasons? Why must you try to traumatize people you don’t even know? What could have been helpful and comforting if done freely could quickly become traumatic if mandated by self-righteous misogynists.
[TW mention of violence]
Also, viewing an ultrasound is hardly necessary information to give informed consent to an abortion. Doctors go over the procedure and all risks or complications that could arise. They tell the pregnant person what will happen, what it might feel like, and what to expect. Seriously, I didn’t need to see pictures of oral surgery to consent to get my wisdom teeth removed. My father didn’t need to see it either to consent to getting a metal plate put in his chin after a bunch of lowlifes bashed his face in with a baseball bat. My mother didn’t need to see pictures of a tubal ligation to consent to it after my brother was born. My brother didn’t need to hear or see graphic details about what the doctors were going to do to him when he had titanium rods put into both legs after breaking his femurs. Nor did he need to see his doctor perform a spinal surgery to consent to having his vertebrate fused after fracturing them in a motocross accident. As much as you don’t want to admit it, an abortion is a simple out-patient medical procedure. You talk the talk of compassion and concern, but it only thinly veils your contempt for women and your need to control them.
Basically, get over yourself.
- Women’s Perceptions About Seeing the Ultrasound Picture Before an Abortion
- Women’s Experience of Viewing the Products of Conception After an Abortion
[TW mention of rape] i submitted my testimony today in opposition of the heartbeat bill here in ohio. i rarely speak out about what has happened to me, but i need to fight for the rights of other women. we can’t let this go through.
My name is Mindy Radabaugh, and I am a 22 year old college student from Ottawa, Ohio. A few years ago, I was a believer that abortion was wrong. I was always taught that abortion was something horrible. I couldn’t imagine anyone who would be willing to make that decision. I believed that if you weren’t responsible enough to have a child, you didn’t need to be engaging in sexual behavior. I believed all of that, until the day it happened to me.
I changed my mind on January 3, 2009, when I found out I was pregnant. 23 days earlier, on my 19th birthday, I became a victim of sexual assault. I had been on birth control since I was 12 to try and fix other reproductive problems, but since I moved to school and began supporting myself, I could no longer afford the $75/month to pay for my birth control. So, when I was assaulted, I was not protected against pregnancy.
On top of the many emotional problems I was facing after the assault, I was in a lot of physical pain. I had my suspicions so I took a test and it was positive. While I knew it was a possibility, the pregnancy was still a shock to me and I knew that carrying to term would not be an option for me at that point. Due to the many reproductive health problems I faced, I was well aware of what I would face as an expectant mother. I would be considered a “high risk” patient and have to go in for ultrasounds every other week. Co-pays are expensive. I wouldn’t be able to afford it. I would also need to be on special medications that would have totaled almost $100/month.
The night I was assaulted was one of the scariest, most horrible nights of my life. To have a child through something like that would be devastating for me. As much as I would have loved that child, I would have never been able to give it the life that it deserved. I would never be able to look at it and love it fully knowing how it was conceived. There would be too much pain.
After I found out about the pregnancy and before plans were made for my abortion, I had heavily considered suicide. I was depressed. I was scared. I had no one I could tell. I would have rather died than carry the child of my rapist. I have never regretted my decision to have the abortion. I was comforted by the wonderful nurses at the clinic and saw a counselor there for several months after the procedure to help me cope. It was one of the best medical experiences I have ever had. I have never felt more compassion or kindness from a physician and their staff.
Because of the abortion I was able to continue school. I will be graduating in August from my university cum laude with a degree in visual communications. I have a job and I pay taxes, actually making money for the country, not costing it money as I would have if I had become a mother at 19.
Instead of banning abortion, why not focus on education and prevention? Educate our young people about safer sex. Encourage contraceptive use. Focus attention on protecting our women from rape and incest.
This bill is harmful to the health and well being of all women. I urge you to please consider women like me; women who need access to safe and legal abortion.
This is pure, unadulterated antichoice propaganda with a side of blatant inaccuracy and emotional terrorism. Hint: a heartbeat does not equal personhood.
Here’s a Jezebel article on it:
Mississippi’s jaw droppingly absurd Personhood Amendment is drumming up a lot of press, but theirs isn’t the only kooky pro-life law poised to pass this fall; Ohio’s got a bit of overreaching anti-choice legislation of its own: a fetal heartbeat bill. And supporters are about to to take to the TV airwaves to urge politicians to pass the damn thing, for the children and such. Ohioans, I hope you’re ready to get the shit annoyed out of you.
House Bill 125 is nicknamed the “Heartbeat Bill” because it would ban all abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which typically happens at around 6 weeks’ gestation, when the fetus is about the size of a lentil and has no arms, legs, or face. Not that it matters to pro-life advocates.
The group responsible for the ad is called Ohio ProLife Action, and it seems that the group exists solely for the purpose of promoting this piece of legislation. The spot features children boarding a school bus and a voiceover explaining that the Heartbeat Bill will save a big ol’ school bus full of children per day. A whole school bus full of children barely larger than the end of a pen and lacking arms, legs, and faces! Imagine that!
To put it Midwesternly, the ad certainly isn’t the smartest. First of all, Ohio, like many states, has been having some budget problems recently. With an entire new school bus full of children per day “saved” by the heartbeat bill, who is going to take care of them? It’s not like they suddenly found all this oil in Youngstown that they can sell to pay for schools for all these kids, and even if they did, with teachers’ unions being dismantled left and right, who’s going to want to teach them? Other fetuses? They’ve got heartbeats; why can’t they get their asses in gear and get their teaching degrees?
Undaunted by either science or logic, Ohio ProLife Action plans to air the ads urging people to tell their state Senators to take action on the bill on Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity, which sounds like it might be preaching to the choir until you realize that they’re actually probably preaching to the choir’s wallets.
Once the state Senate takes action on the bill, it has a decent likelihood of passing. It passed the House of Representatives in June, and the State Senate is heavily Republican — 21 members of the chamber are of the red persuasion to only 11 Democrats. Ohio’s governor is also redder than the Ohio State bleachers— he’s former Fox News host and occasional substitute Bill O’Reilly John Kasich.
Abortion foes to air ad on Ohio’s ‘Heartbeat Bill’ [Marion Star]
Lauren Zuniga performs a poem for the Oklahoma legislators that are trying so hard to take away women’s reproductive rights. The bill in question will require women to receive an ultrasound and listen to the baby’s heartbeat before an abortion.
"If you want to play god, Mr. and Mrs. Lawmakers, if you want to write your bible on my organs, then you better be there when I’m down on my knees pleading for relief from your morality.”