Ultrasounds Empower Decisions for Women Seeking an Abortion in Duluth, Georgia
Mandatory ultrasounds before an abortion have been labeled “unethical and demeaning,” but is it more demeaning to assume women can’t emotionally handle information about their own health?
Ultrasound laws have sparked heated debates as to how they emotionally affect women seeking abortions. Putting aside those emotionally fueled conversations however, ultrasounds do educate women about their health, and they do empower their decisions
Georgia abortion laws do not require healthcare providers to perform an ultrasound before an abortion nor women to view the image or listen to the heartbeat. However, ultrasounds provide women with important information about their personal condition and available options.
|Georgia Abortion Procedure Requirements as of May 2019|
|State has ultrasound requirement?||Woman must receive information on accessing ultrasound services||Provision of ultrasound required for abortion and the provider must display and describe image||Provision of ultrasound required for abortion and provider must offer woman opportunity to view image||If ultrasound is performed as part of preparation for abortion, provider must offer woman opportunity to view image||Provision of ultrasound must be offered by provider to woman|
|Source: Taken from KFF State Ultrasound Requirments for Abortion Procedure Table as of Septemeber 2019
* Woman must be provided with verbal information on accessing ultrasound services.
The idea of actually seeing a fetus developing can be overwhelming for some women, but using the ultrasound as a medical tool offers a clearer picture of what to expect- just as with an x-ray for a broken leg.
An ultrasound reveals:
- the gestational age
- the number of fetuses
- the heart rate
- the location of pregnancy (intrauterine/ectopic)
These are all crucial pieces of information for women choosing the right option for their specific situation.
An ultrasound can even reveal if a pregnancy is viable. According to Mayo Clinic, 1 in 5 of all pregnancies end in a natural miscarriage, and an ultrasound can confirm viability. It can also detect an ectopic pregnancy, which is a medical emergency for the wellbeing of the mother. And according to the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “currently, there is no evidence that ultrasound is harmful to a developing fetus.”
As part of women’s reproductive health and ability to give informed consent (for any medical procedure), women must have all adequate information available. Ultrasounds are not the “undue burden” described by pro-choice organizations. Ultrasounds provide key information, unique to each woman’s circumstance and options, empowering her decision making.
Pamphlets and articles that walk through an abortion procedure do not give the particular details an ultrasound provides. Discouraging women from having an ultrasound on the basis that it will emotionally distress them is demeaning to a woman’s ability to handle her own health issues and limits her freedom of choice.
Obria Medical Clinics offers ultrasounds near Duluth, GA, by trained staff who make women feel comfortable in a safe environment. Scheduling a pregnancy test and ultrasound is the best first step to knowing all the options.
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