Rick Perry, governor of the Great State of Texas – and I’ll admit I’m a bit partial – is about to sign a bill into law that will require women considering abortion to receive a sonogram at least 24 hours before the procedure. According to the New York Times, “Though the woman can choose not to view the images and hear the heartbeat, the doctor must describe what the sonogram shows, including the existence of legs, arms and internal organs.”
This law will save lives.
Sonogram laws are a powerful victory against abortion because sonograms provide a window into the hidden world of the womb. In other words, sonograms tell the truth. Because the abortion industry subsists on secrecy and lies, the greatest weapon against abortion is truth.
Based on personal experience, it is my firm belief that most people who support abortion don’t know what it is they’re supporting, and most women who have abortions don’t truly understand what abortion is.
I was pro-choice until November of 2006, when a pro-life friend had a Conversation with me. I capitalize it because it was a Conversation that changed my life forever. I began it with the firmly held belief that being pro-choice was the enlightened, humane way to be; pro-choice was on the side of human rights, caring about women, and just generally being an intelligent, ethical person. When I saw pro-life bumper stickers on my friend’s car, I scoffed openly. “You’ve gone a little too far, don’t you think?” I said to her. She was calm and polite when, later that night, I brought it up again.
“How can you possibly be pro-life?” I asked her.
She explained the issue to me with clarity and reason, and told me that photos had played a large part in convincing her of the inherent wrong of abortion. Towards the end of the Conversation, almost (but not quite) persuaded against my will, I asked to see the photos. When I was done looking at them, I was pro-life. And not only was I pro-life, I was an activist, and have remained one.
There is a lot of debate in the pro-life community about whether graphic images are a good idea. I looked at graphic photos a million times as a pro-choicer, and all I saw was something to anger me at pro-lifers. It didn’t register to me that I was looking at a dead baby. It was simply one more thing about which to get angry and indignant at the anti-choice wackos. However, when a person is ready to see them, to really see them, as I was after that Conversation, they are the most powerful tool we have against the ignorance that is the calling card of the pro-choice base.
Most people think, as I did, in terms of “tissue,” “clumps of cells,” “the products of pregnancy,” all the euphemisms Planned Parenthood and the entire anti-life front use to dehumanize an unborn child. An image of an aborted baby says in one second what even the most well-informed and eloquent pro-life crusader could not say in two hours. It says: “This is a human being, and it is dead.” A picture of an abortion does not show you a terminated pregnancy or some discarded tissue. It shows you, clearly and finally, a child that has been killed. Legally.
Most people, almost all people, have a conscience, which means most people have a visceral reaction to such photos if they have been prepared to see them. Something in them says, “That is wrong.”
The sonogram image is the most powerful visual tool in the pro-life arsenal. It is far more effective and powerful to the woman considering abortion than even the most horrifying photo of an aborted baby, because the child is alive and the child is hers.
Women who go to abortion clinics are bombarded with the aforementioned euphemisms: tissue, clump of cells, product of pregnancy. But a moving image of the child inside her, in some cases fully formed and active, its strong little heart beating away: this belies the euphemisms. It negates the propaganda. It is the truth, in front of her eyes, and it is the most powerful weapon we have to fight the people who would kill that child and collect their fee.
Planned Parenthood and their many allies and supporters are furious about the sonogram bill in Texas and others like it all over the country. They are angry because they are not concerned with helping women make an informed decision. They are concerned with the money they make committing abortions.
Sonogram laws are devastating to the abortion industry. The last thing in the world they want is for the woman to think about the living child inside her as a living child. After all, then she might act on her instinct to protect it and, God forbid, leave with her body, soul, and baby intact, and her money in her pocket.
As usual, organizations like NARAL clamor that the law is “designed to shame women.” This is ludicrous and condescending. If abortion is the empowering act organizations like NARAL would have us believe, they would shrug off sonogram law. If abortion is the nonchalant casting-off of useless tissue anti-lifers would have us believe, a woman could look unflinchingly at the “clump of cells” on the sonogram and say to the abortionist, “Go for it.” But NARAL, Planned Parenthood, NOW, and their ilk know that the woman is going to see a baby. And to NARAL I say, if it is shame that makes her decide not to kill it, then so be it.
But it is possible, and I like to believe probable, that it is a higher emotion that will cause a woman to keep her baby upon viewing a sonogram. I think it might even be appropriate to call it something very silly, like love.
Kristen Walker is Vice President of New Wave Feminists for Life. Her personal blog can be found here.