No one can call themselves “pro-choice” and “pro-woman” and stand in opposition to the Women’s Right to Know Act (House bill 854). This piece of legislation requires that women receive a consultation with a doctor, are given information on alternatives to abortion, offered an ultrasound, and given a 24-hour waiting period before having an abortion.
Nevertheless, this bill has generated a series of protests from the pro-choice crowd with arguments that the legislation violates the doctor/patient relationship, it makes the decision to have an abortion more painful for the woman and it is just one more step towards making abortions more difficult to obtain.
But the arguments stem from a misunderstanding of the current situation for women seeking an abortion. When all the facts are included, this bill is not polarized and does not seek a hidden agenda.
Thirty-two states have already enacted Women’s Right to Know laws and several state courts have declared it constitutional.
This is a bi-partisan gesture that both pro-choice and pro-life camps should favor.
Currently, most women seeking an abortion do not do so through their private family doctors, but rather through abortion clinics where the record of the abortion will be easier to hide. Abortion clinics are not required to have a patient consult with the doctor before scheduling an abortion and many women see the doctor for the first time when they are already on the table. A Woman’s Choice abortion clinic in Raleigh advertises their “same day appointments” and makes sure women know that cash, major credit cards and debit cards are accepted.
I was curious about how much doctor interaction was available to patients seeking an abortion so I called a Woman’s Choice center to schedule the procedure. They informed me that I could come that same day and wouldn’t have to talk to anyone before my appointment; I could be “in and out.”
Regardless of your stance on abortion, this is not right. No woman or young girl should be able to have an abortion without a doctor consult. This is a decision and medical procedure that she will live with for the rest of her life; meanwhile abortion clinics treat patients as if they were customers at a drive-thru fast food restaurant.
This bill cannot violate the doctor/patient relationship because there is no doctor/patient relationship to speak of under the typical abortion procedure.
Instead, this bill will ensure that women are given the proper treatment and information as they make a very serious decision — the pain of knowing all the facts about abortion beforehand pales in comparison to the pain of regret from a hasty and uninformed decision.
How many women would reconsider their decision if they knew that a survey conducted in London found that 82 percent of women regretted their abortions?
Or what if they knew there is a waiting list for couples wanting to adopt children with Down syndrome?
Today, women seeking abortion are not presented with a choice. If this bill is passed into law, women will have an informed choice about what to do with their own bodies and no truly “pro-choice” individuals should deny her that right.
Regina Conley is an intern at the Civitas Institute, www.nccivitas.org.
This op-ed originally appeared in the Wake Weekly and Lincoln Tribune the week of June 20-25