Whole Woman’s Health: Impacts of the Sonogram Bill

Tomorrow marks the first day that abortion providers and patients are required to abide by (what’s left of) Rick Perry & Dan Patrick’s “emergency status” sonogram bill. We’ve spent countless hours since this bill was passed trying to determine what this means for our patients, and during that time there have been quite a few changes to it, thanks to our friends at the Center for Reproductive Rights and others who took on the case.

Because of them and a few upstanding Texas judges, yes, there was an injunction placed on a lot of atrocious things within the bill.

And yes, the TX Supreme Court upheld that injunction on those things, due to them being blatantly unconstitutional. And tomorrow would have been a lot worse for us, our Doctors and our patients, had these things not been placed under injunction…

…But that doesn’t mean that women and families aren’t still being majorly impacted by this bill. Perhaps the biggest obstacle within the bill is now the only one standing: the new 24 hour waiting period. While legally requiring a woman to view her ultrasound and listen to the description is pretty monstrous and blatantly unconstitutional, at the very least, it didn’t impact her ability to have a procedure.

So now, what are we left with? We’re left with a new 24 hour waiting period that is much more cumbersome than the last. This “sonogram bill” now requires women to make 2 trips to the clinic to receive her ultrasound 24 hours in advance of her procedure. So essentially, for our patients, the only thing that this bill has managed to change is the number of days they have to take off of work (and arrange child care, use sick/vacation days, find gas money, find a ride, or simply 2 days of crossing her fingers that she doesn’t get fired for a spontaneous 2-day leave. This goes for any friends/family that would like to be with her during the procedure, too.) The sono bill, as it stands, doesn’t satisfy the initially proposed, overarching goal of “educating women.” What it’s all boiled down to is just another obstacle for women and families, with absolutely no rhyme or reason behind it.

The sonogram bill really only made sense (to anti-choicers, at least) as a whole package. We already performed ultrasounds. Now we just have to perform them 24 hours in advance. And for what? We’re very happy that this package has been trimmed down, but we’d really just like to return the whole thing.

Perhaps the only clause that makes it better states that if a woman says that she lives outside of a 100-mile radius from the clinic, the 24 hour law no longer applies to her. Unfortunately, for those women who happen to live down the street and need an abortion, they’ll still be facing the 24 hour waiting period and all of the new obstacles that come with it, so says the state of Texas.

As illogical and useless as this new law is (to both sides of the argument now), we’re here for the women and families who need our support and assistance in navigating the new 2-day appointments, whether it’s with helping you locate a local childcare facility or providing you with a Doctor’s note. And we promise, you are not alone in your frustration with this situation. Trust us.

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26 thoughts on “Whole Woman’s Health: Impacts of the Sonogram Bill

  1. I DO see this bill as a way to better educate women about the procedure they are about to undergo. In no other surgical center will you go blindly in and blindly out. Doctors tell you up-front what is going to happen and explain to you all that will be done to you while in their care. And under this new law, women are being educated during the sonogram as to what exactly they are carrying within their bodies. It’s not a blob of tissue, it’s a baby with a beating heart. Now, how is that monstrous? This article only seems to only care about the inconvenience factor of the two visits over helping a woman make the right decision, one that will impact her and her family for the rest of their lives. Perhaps you could care more about your patients’ lives than their pocketbooks.

    1. Mine was only a sac of cells, thank you. Not everyone who gets an abortion is 7 or 8 weeks or further. Some of us are 4 weeks, or less. Sorry but something that soon does not have a heartbeat and more than just the Whole Womans Health clinic confirmed that, AND for people with severe health risks who have to wait, even an extra day with heart problems, it is an issue. I would not have known I was preg, being I was still so soon, had my heart not already started acting up.

      Plus it is our bodies, I do not appreciate the government invading my personal choice to help dictate the answer. ALSO you do not go in blindly in and out. What is going to happen is explained to you, what you would experience, what the risks are. etc etc.

      1. A baby’s heartbeat can be detected as early as four weeks, which means that it is a living, breathing human person. What you decide to do after knowing that determines how much you value the dignity of human life. Even embryonic sea turtles are protected by federal law. Where’s the logic in all of this?

  2. Hi Megan,
    Thanks for your reply. The recent injunction placed on the bill strikes all clauses that have to do with “educating women.” It may come as a surprise, but abortion providers already require an ultrasound before a woman’s procedure, where we allow the woman to view the screen, even to the extent of taking home a copy of the ultrasound, if she wishes to do so. Some women choose this option, and some women don’t. Women also have the option of viewing the Woman’s Right to Know pamphlet. Again, some of them choose to, and some don’t. Additionally, women are required to speak with a Doctor who relays the potential risks associated with the procedure 24 hours in advance, after which, they can ask questions. Some women do, some women don’t. During her appointment, we sit with her during the counseling session, and tell her exactly what to expect during her procedure, and we answer all questions that she has, honestly and without judgement. If she’s uncomfortable with the procedure, we discuss her other options. Believe it or not, we don’t require her to do anything that she doesn’t feel comfortable with during her own medical procedure, and we expect the same from the state.

    All the same, this particular bill mandated that this was a requirement – not an option – for women, and Physicians. After it was tried, one of the only ‘sticking’ points of this bill was that she must have her ultrasound 24 hours in advance. The required description, and the required viewing of the ultrasound were placed under injunction because they were deemed unconstitutional. So as it stands, this bill does nothing to actively “educate women,” as you might put it, it simply turns her appointment into a two day procedure. I can tell you from experience that some of these women and families simply cannot afford to take two days off of work, let alone one. So yes, this is a major inconvenience that may restrict access for women. And that is important to us, because we believe that every woman should have the same set of choices, regardless of who she is or where she works. We trust women, and we trust their decisions. This bill presents nothing new to the way a woman experiences her procedure, or what a woman “learns” during it. It simply presents a new, needless obstacle that she must figure out how to overcome.

    I hope this cleared the post up a bit for you. Contrary to how you may have read it, we’re not in the business of convenience. Our staff is full of open, honest people who educate women through every step of their appointment, but also ultimately trust women to make the best decisions for themselves. Thanks again for your feedback.

    1. Women cannot possibly “make the best decisions for themselves” if they are not fully informed beforehand. Taking off two days from work is nothing compared to the many more days and weeks a woman will suffer after enduring the trauma of abortion. I have listened to countless women (and men) speak about their abortion experiences, and I can assure you that they suffer psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual trauma for the rest of their lives.

      They all the same thing: they were not told the truth and so they felt that they really had no “choice” at all. It is an extremely unnatural and demeaning experience. I have been through it myself, so I know what I am talking about. It is not a loving option, and it is not good for women or their babies, who suffer immensely. We treat unborn animals better than we treat unborn humans.

      When you “counsel” young women, do you also teach them that there is already a beating heart in that baby? Do you even call it a baby? Or do you, as most post-abortive women are told, say that it is merely a “clump of cells?”

      Crisis pregnancy centers focus on helping the mother before, during and after the birth of her baby. Isn’t that what’s best for all concerned?
      http://www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org.

      1. Hi Catherine,
        Thanks for your reply. We’re not looking to turn this space into a forum for debate about abortion, as there are a number of other places online where people can go for that. If you do have any further questions, please message us. However, to address your comment, let me just say that we respect your experience with abortion, and we understand that we all work out of good intention for women and families. Thank you for reading and listening with an open mind.

        Yes, this procedure can result in a gigantic range of feelings and emotions – even multiple ones within each patient. But for every story you have on your website that cites negative feelings after abortion, there are just as many stories with positive ones on http://www.1in3campaign.org, or http://www.imnotsorry.net.

        If a woman came to either of us asking “What should I do?”, I don’t believe that either of us should be telling any individual woman what the best option for her pregnancy is – but instead, providing her with all of the legal options that she has, and letting her make the decision that she is most comfortable with. Our personal beliefs of the subjective and highly personal topics of life, religion or viability have no place in another woman’s decision. Period. We believe that, and practice it in our clinics. Likewise, when a woman asks “Should I have an abortion?” we don’t tell her ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ We take an emotional triage of how she feels about the procedure, if she has any questions, how she’s feeling, and we address those things openly, and honestly. She must be the one to answer this question, herself, and she must be at peace with the answer.

        We respect women enough to know that they understand what it means to be pregnant. We also respect that women know what abortion is. They’re not victims when they pick up the phone, they are women taking control of a situation. Of course women have specific questions about fetal heart tones, development and associated risks, and no, we don’t deceive them when they ask. Our goal isn’t to “convince” women to believe any one choice is best for her. However, if the answers to those questions do align with her personal beliefs, we respect that, without question. It will always ultimately be her choice to make, in our clinic. Thanks again for listening, Catherine.

  3. Really, Catherine? You’re going to presume to speak for all women who go through abortions?

    Guess what, I had an abortion, too, and it saved my life. Was I sad about it? Yes. But sad does not always mean bad. I am grateful for my abortion, and I know many other women who are grateful, as well. Not everyone has the same experience.

    Instead of treating abortion like this big, scary, thing that is going to ruin someone’s lives, we should be lifting those women up who take charge of their reproductive health. You know why some women have emotional, physical, spiritual trauma after their abortions? Because a lot of them are ashamed and they do not have warm, caring support systems to carry them through trying times.

    As an aside, to assume that women do not truly “think” about their decision before having an abortion is insulting. I’m a grown ass woman, and I don’t need you or some rich old fogey in Congress telling me what I should or should not do before I choose to have a child. We don’t require women to go through any sort of education before they have children, so why should we require the same thing of women who choose not to have children? I think what some people forget is that it’s OKAY to not be pregnant, and it’ s OKAY to not want to be pregnant.

  4. Thank you Rebecca. You took so many words out of my mouth.

    Women need to support eachother and help eachother take charge of their sexual/reproductive health. There wouldn’t be as much “psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual trauma” if women had the support they needed. I also find that many of the ‘anti-abortion’ people, tend to be the ones that are against people having so many children without the means to support them. Guess what? Abortions have been performed for centuries! The difference is now we have the medical technology and know-how to make it safer than ever. Women have choices and each one should be supported.

  5. *If a woman came to either of us asking “What should I do?”, I don’t believe that either of us should be telling any individual woman what the best option for her pregnancy is – but instead, providing her with all of the legal options that she has, and letting her make the decision that she is most comfortable with. Our personal beliefs of the subjective and highly personal topics of life, religion or viability have no place in another woman’s decision. Period.*

    I am Pro-life and Catholic. And I agree 100% with that one statement. The people standing outside of your clinic praying as we speak agree with the above statement. That is why we are out there, not to be your enemy but because we feel the same way you do and want to tell the women going in that if they want it, there is other help out there. Every woman deserves to be given all her choices and treated with respect and dignity regardless of what she chooses to do. If we didn’t feel that way we wouldn’t offer help to the women who choose to abort their child. But we do. There is no judgement, no name calling. There are a few people who have pictures and most of us do not agree with them using those pictures, but we can’t stop them. But the fact is that a lot of us don’t like it any more than you (the workers in the clinic do)

    If you truly believe the statement that you made, then you will be happy even when a woman changes her mind and chooses to keep her child after talking with us. Because like you said all that matters is that they made that choice for herself knowing all of her options including knowing that there is help for them to keep their child no matter what their situation.

    Let’s be real. Every woman going into your clinic is well aware that abortion is an option. What they are not all aware of is how much help there is for them if they choose to keep their child. How much choice do they have without knowing that? That is all we want them to have.

    Thank you for you honest and respectful replies. I have to say that I thought you would delete any opposing comments on this blog.

    Have a good day. 🙂

    1. Leti,

      Thank you for your sincere and well-thought reply.

      I work in an abortion facility, and no, I dont mind when people pray peacefully outside. I don’t even mind when a patient changes her mind. Sometimes it seems bizarre that a patient would talk to a total stranger hanging out outside of her doctor’s office (or leave in a car with them), but like Rebecca, I feel like every woman’s experience is different…and sometimes abortion is not the right choice for her.

      One point that bothers me is that many of the counselors outside of our facility come from the local pregnancy center. If pregnancy centers do not offer abortion services, or refer to other facilities that do, are they really offering all of the options/resources available? Would you refer a woman to an abortion facility?

      1. April,

        April,

        Thank you for not attacking me. 🙂

        No I wouldn’t refer a woman to an abortion facility. Why? Because every woman in this country knows that an abortion is an option and where to get one. Even 16 year old girls who find out they are pregnant. I was one of those girls,17 years ago and I knew that abortion was an option. The father of my child brought it up, my mom brought it up as well as plenty of my friends. Women do not need to know that abortion is their option. As long as it’s legal and gets the attention that it gets in the media, women know. Not to mention that its on every TV show you watch. So them not knowing about abortion or that they have the choice to have one isn’t something that needs to be stated in my opinion.

        What women don’t know are all the different options they have to keep their child. They don’t know that there are women who are willing to take time out of their life to walk with them through their pregnancy so they are not alone. They don’t know there are programs that will help them learn how to be mothers, if they choose to. And that will give them AND their babies any help they need. Not welfare and Food stamp programs either, but real life people giving them love, support and anything else they need. Everyone knows what abortion clinics do. Not everyone knows about their local maternity homes and what they do.

        I am pro-life. ALL life, not just unborn life but the life of the mother as well. I have talked to so many women who regret their choice of abortion. A lot of them are the women standing outside clinics praying and working in the Pregnancy Crisis Centers. They are there because they know what kind of pain abortion can cause. I am there because I know what a gift a child is even if they are unplanned. My oldest son is 17 and he is one of a kind. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve learned that parenting isn’t easy no matter what. Even if the moon and star are aligned perfectly it is still freakin’ hard to raise kids.

        All I want is for women to know about the “us”. That we are not there to judge them, to make their choice for them, to bombard them with insults or any of that. Most of “us” just want to help them just like most of “you”.

        Thank you for listening.

      2. Leti,

        You know what? I agree with you. I agree that we don’t teach young women and men enough about pregnancy and parenthood, and a lot of times they feel like welfare is the only option.

        But I also believe that there will always be unwanted pregnancies. And it’s okay to not be pregnant if you don’t want to be. I agree that children can be a gift, but sometimes the recipient is not ready to receive that gift. Children are a gift that come with a LOT of responsibilities. I want women to feel ready and willing to take care of those responsibilities. I would love it if abortions were rare(er), but they won’t be until we start looking at the way we as a culture look at sex. We as a culture need to stop pretending that abstinence is the only way to teach our children about sex. We must make other types of family planning more available to all people. Many people don’t have access to birth control (which a lot of the times carry a required dr. visit to be prescribe), condoms, and other types of contraceptives because they simply do not have the money. Yes, abstinence is the only 100% effective way to not be pregnant (and we do tell that to our patients), but unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases occur in married relationships just as they do in un-married relationships…

        …and frankly, some people enjoy having sex because it is an intimate, enjoyable experience, not because it leads to procreation. And so, for me, it is important that abortion always remain an option, because even if you follow all the rules (using condoms, hormonal birth control, etc), you can still sometimes find yourself pregnant.

        I don’t really agree with you that every woman in this country knows where to get an abortion. I’m not really sure if there is much I could say to change your mind about that one, but my experience in talking to women on the phones at our clinics tell me otherwise. I think we will just have to agree to disagree there.

        I have talked to women who regret their abortion, too, and it makes me sad. I feel like we as a society have failed her. And it makes me angry that doctors and counselors may have pressured her in to having a procedure…it makes all the hard work that I do seem for naught.

        Another point where I’m afraid we will never agree is that just because a woman regrets having an abortion procedure, I don’t necessarily think that abortion is inherently bad. Yes, abortion has the potential to cause pain. You know what else causes pain? Being in love. But that doesn’t make being in love a bad thing. I have also talked to women who feel like their abortion saved their lives (and the lives of their families). And that makes it worth it for me.

        I want to preface the last thing I’m about to say with that I promise it is not meant to be confrontational.

        If you want women to know about “you,” standing outside the clinic and literally screaming at them as they walk inside is not the way to do it. (I’m not saying that you personally engage in these tactics, but I have seen many “counselors” who do) There are some days where I can clearly hear what the “counselor” is saying when the doors and windows are closed, and with the normal noise of a doctor’s office. It makes me cringe. Their voices are loud, sharp, and like nails running down a chalkboard. That doesn’t really seem “caring” to me.

      3. I think we agree more than we disagree. I don’t have time right now to give a well thought out reply to your reply, so I won’t even try because that would not be fair.

        Thank you for the discussion, your kindness and honesty.

        Would it surprise you to know that I love having sex with my husband? I agree it is a very intimate thing to share with him. Not all pro-lifers think that enjoying sex is wrong. In fact most of them, and shockingly the Catholic ones, think the complete opposite. That was a shock to me when I became Catholic. So I agree with you, sex is a wonderful thing that is to be enjoyed and cherished between married couples. 🙂

        I’m off to school. If you would like to keep on discussing, (I would you are the first person on the “other side” who hasn’t hurled insults my way) feel free to email me. lethyluvsstacey@yahoo.com

        Have a great day.

  6. God forbid we let these women get educated and have time to think through a huge decision, and God forbid we let them see that OMGOSH ITSA BABAY IN THERE and not a blob…. *sighs*…. Yet reason 9843759428754987 I am pro-life, it gives more education and more choices. If you are against this, you are just taking away another choice, and more education and truths. Kinda anti-choice if you ask me. I love the ultrasound bill, because I respect women enough to think they should have time and truth. Some people will justify anything I swear…… xoxo 😎

      1. actually no, from my experience, I have seen many women actually believe it is not a baby yet at all, they think it is a blob with no heartbeat, arms, legs, etc. Despite facts, it is amazing how many are uneducated on fetal development. (Perhaps that is why I teach it?) 😎 And it is amazing how many women change their minds after seeing an ultrasound, I know this from first hand seeing many change their minds and really didn’t think there was a baby they would be killing. AMAZING what a little education can do. So, before you speak Rebecca, take into consideration the facts, and that MORE choices and education DOES save women and babies. The baby, man, woman, everyone involved should have a choice. 😎 But wait no that is again more choices, gosh what am I thinking. 😎 lol. Have fun on the thread, I am going to go enjoy my day, my child, and be happy about another abort mill being shut down this week, they are falling like flies, couldn’t be happier. 😎

        -Women deserve better, abortion is anti-woman, who’s side are you on? 😎

    1. It’s almost like these people haven’t read one word of anything that’s been posted here. The things about the ultrasound bill that you “like” have been placed under injunction, because they are unconstitutional. At this point, you could take that up with the US Supreme Court, but – ohhh wait, they already tried that and they refused to take the case.

    2. You’re probably not pro-life, you’re probably pro-fetus. This means that you only care about someone else’s fetus for 9 months. Once it comes out then you probably don’t give a shit about it. Chances are the woman getting the abortion is a poor, minority. And chances are that you’re a Republican who favors cutting off funding to after school programs, or basically any other program meant to help these kids born into poor households.

      Also, when a woman uses the services at an abortion clinic they discuss all of the options with her and would do so even if state government didn’t try to circumvent the Constitution. Do you think that they just walk in, get the procedure done and walk out? And do you think the woman going to the clinic hasn’t thought about the ramifications of her decision? If you truly want the woman to have more education and more choices available to her then you’re actually pro-choice.

      1. wow Hand what an ignorant reply? Yes, you auto-assume that I don’t care about life after birth… yeaaahhhh riiiighhhhttt LOL. And actually you must know nothing about me (well duh!) lol. I am pro-education, I am a teacher. And I volunteer in an adoption clinic to help those kids… but I should stop that since I don’t care about them since they are born right? Gosh you look silly.. 😎 lol. You must hate women. take care all, too much silly! 😎

    3. Do you not think that a lot of woman do really think about it before even picking up the phone? I did. I weighed all the options, went out other doctors for information regarding my health and the fetus.

      I cannot speak for all woman, nor am I going to try, but I am sure at least some of us actually think before we act.

  7. The idea that life begins at conception is not “personal,” nor “subjective.” If you’re trying to inform women, please do so with facts.

  8. I agree with the 24 hour waiting period, i do not, however, agree with the entirity that is the ultrasound bill. taking away womans rights is unconstitutional. Educating woman is what this has always been about. The idea that some people think that the inside of an abortion clinic is dark, cold, absent of caring, endearing workers is ridiculous. Every field of work is an “industry”. The “healthcare industry”, the “education industry” the “mechanical industry”. 🙂 silly people. The workers inside these “abortion mills” aka SUPPORTIVE OF WOMAN clinics are loving, endearing, kind hearted, workers, HEALTH CARE workers, who CHOOSE to work for the RIGHTS OF WOMEN, because we ARE women. These workers have to deal with the verbal abuse every morning of “sidewalk counselors”. Maybe they are peacefully protesting, but that does not mean that some tend to lash out at everyone passing by that sidewalk, whether they are employees, patients or innocent passerbys making their way through the area. A woman does have the right to be educated on a life changing procedure, she has the right to view the ultrasound, she has the right to change her mind, but remember, she also has the RIGHT TO CHOOSE to abort. Have a lovely day.

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