The line between politics and morality often remains vague and open to much speculation and interpretation — it’s a hazy gray area. The idea of where national interest ends and personal interest begins can cause much controversy for elected officials and average citizens alike.
Recently, the state of Texas fell under national scrutiny when a bill was passed and put into action that required any woman who wants an abortion to undergo a sonogram of her fetus prior to the procedure. Much public opposition has been generated by the highly controversial measure embraced by Gov. Rick Perry and many other right-wing conservatives hoping to see a decline in the number of abortions in the state of Texas.
This is an interesting subject for me to write a column about, since I was adopted at birth and have always been a proponent of adoption over abortion in almost all cases of unwanted pregnancy.
However, in this situation, the moral issue of abortion is not even close to the moral issue of subjecting a woman to what I think is a psychologically damaging, extremely unethical practice.
Proponents of the sonogram law say that ethics are not an issue and the bill is for educational and awareness purposes. Under the law, after the sonogram has been conducted, the patient can refuse to see the images and listen to the heartbeat, according to a Feb. 7 Reuters article by Terry Baynes. However, she may not refuse to listen to a verbal description of the sonogram, so even if she does not want to see the image of the fetus before the abortion, she has to listen to every detail anyway.
The method employed in this bill is that of a guilt trip. The general concept seems to be that in order to stop the number of abortions, people should focus on making the woman feel guilty for having an unwanted pregnancy in the first place.
It does not matter whether you are pro-life or pro-choice; the point is, as freethinking individuals, we should never use mental anguish to try and change someone’s mind because we don’t agree with certain actions.
If a person got into a vehicle after drinking, wrecked into another car and killed the other driver, we wouldn’t pass a law requiring that person to look at a picture of the dead body in order to drive again.
The point of this bill seems to be trying to stop something certain social groups feel is a societal flaw by emphasizing that flaw in every way possible, making a mockery of the health system and the pregnant patient.
Even though I don’t agree with many aspects of abortion, such a potentially psychologically damaging method of prevention could be seen as just as bad as the abortion itself.
And even if that isn’t enough of a reason to amend this law, I believe that legal precedent is being violated, as well. In the landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973, the right to a woman’s privacy and her decision to terminate her pregnancy are protected by the due process clause in the 14th Amendment.
In my opinion, a woman’s privacy is being compromised severely by the passage of the Texas sonogram provision and even if the state legislature refuses to acknowledge the emotional aspect, the law is unconstitutional, if nothing else.
Abortion is a serious topic with many implications that should be assessed by the woman, her doctor and her family. If the state of Texas truly had the patient’s best interests in mind, they would not force this extra measure in the woman’s decision-making process.
The thin line we often encounter of whose moral decisions are right and whose are wrong is too easily affected by the opinions of those who are not involved in someone’s personal affairs. Everyone is going to make mistakes and deal with internal pain at some point in their lives, and it is not anyone’s place to get involved and add further guilt to the situation.
Unless it is the government’s body, the government’s pregnancy or the government’s child, the government should not determine what the woman has to see, hear or say before making her final decision.
Jillian Aramowicz is a senior in advertising. Please send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.