Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ultrasound: Does Babette Joseph Think I'm a Man?

According to Billy Hallowell, she's just called me that...


Well, dittos to Rose Marie Swanger...I thought of a raunchier retort to Babette Josephs' slur, but in order to keep this website family-filter-proof I'll just say "Nanny nanny boo boo, so's yer old man, and if I had a name like 'Babette' I wouldn't talk."

But there are more reasonable objections to the idea of requiring an ultrasound scan before an abortion, as discussed here:


The doctor's post sounds reasonable enough. There's just this radical split between the kind of patients the doctor seems to want us to imagine he serves, and the women whose stories are discussed here:


And why does it happen to be a male doctor who seems to know all these women who feel that an ultrasound scan of what they're aborting would be so intrusive and abusive? Does that tell us more about the women in his neighborhood, or about this doctor's professional bedside manner?

I don't like writing about abortion, since life has denied me any real firsthand involvement with the issue. I feel that those of us who never have been or could become pregnant should leave this issue to be discussed by those who have either had or aborted babies. Well, technically women with PCOS can have babies, with lots of expensive medical help, but I'd rather just adopt a child than go through all that drama about adding more copies of my burdensome gluten-intolerance gene to the world. And I seriously recommend this position on the abortion issue to the entire pregnancy-proof half of humankind.

But, for those like Babette Joseph, and nicer people like Elizabeth Barrette and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, who seem to be wondering about this: Running an ultrasound scan before an abortion is nowhere near as intrusive as the abortion itself. In order to remove a fetus from a woman's body, that body has to be not only probed and scanned but physically cut apart. Blood is shed. Permanent injury is commonplace.

Who wants the ultrasound scans? Believe it or not, women do. And this is not entirely because some women are Catholic. There are women--more accurately, in many cases, teenaged girls--who are bullied into having abortions against their will. Parents who don't want it known that their daughter has been pregnant, husbands and boyfriends who don't want to be responsible for their offspring, and even social workers and school staff who fear that a pregnant teenager won't be part of the head count on which school funding is based, have been known to do this horrible thing. Sometimes an ultrasound scan will persuade the bully to back off, and allow the woman to let the fetus become a baby who can then be put up for adoption.

It is conceivable that if, at my age and condition, I managed to start growing a fetus, that fetus might be one of the little freaks that never will become babies with a chance at a human life. My mother willed herself to try to have more babies, at my age, and two of those poor little blobs of glup aborted themselves before anyone had a guess what was so wrong with them. But there are cases, mostly involving middle-aged ladies who have tried too hard to have babies, where a defective fetus has to be removed by a doctor. I try to imagine myself in this situation and, swallowing down the nausea, I can assure you that I would demand the ultrasound. I'd want proof that the fetus was all that defective.

Who does not want ultrasound before the abortion? Hmm...maybe abortion specialists who worry that giving prospective parents time to think, or a chance to see that a fetus might become a healthy baby after all, would cause them to choose not to have the abortion, and then the abortion specialists would have to compete with real doctors to provide services people actually want?

Is it possible that Babette Joseph is a man, or has been intimidated into speaking for a man, who specializes in abortions?

Or is she speaking for women who, like Gloria Steinem, once told themselves "I can always have other babies, but a travel deal like this one comes along only once in a lifetime," and so they had an abortion that was not medically necessary, and now the permanent injuries prevent them from ever having another baby...and they feel, just a bit, guilty about this?

The official position of this web site is "Bah, humbug." (Actually, if Grandma Bonnie Peters ever finds the time to compose an actual post, she can be more intense about this topic than I am.) And if Babette Joseph cares to e-mail me, I'll send her the gross-out joke that was my first reaction to her rude remarks.