.- Women arenât done any favors when the truth about abortion is hidden from them, says a backer of a new âcommonsenseâ Oklahoma law that requires a doctor to give an ultrasound to a woman seeking an abortion. His comments come in response to a legal challenge from the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR).
The law passed on Tuesday after a bipartisan vote in the Oklahoma legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Brad Henryâs veto.
The law requires the doctor to show a woman the ultrasound image of her unborn baby and to describe the image in detail before performing an abortion.
In a Tuesday statement, the CRR argued that the requirement for an ultrasound âprofoundly intrudesâ on a patientâs privacy, calling it âthe most extreme ultrasound law in the country.â
âThe law forces a woman to hear information that she may not want to hear and that may not be relevant to her medical care,â the CRR continued, saying this alleged compulsion discounts âher abilities to make healthy decisions about her own life.â
The organization also claimed that the law interferes with the doctor-patient relationship.
Stephanie Toti, staff attorney in the U.S. Legal Program of the CRR, claimed that the law was âclearly unconstitutionalâ and detrimental to women. She also said a court fight would waste Oklahoma taxpayersâ money.
CNA spoke about the new law in a Wednesday interview with Tony Lauinger, state chairman of Oklahomans for Life.
He said the law is in fact constitutional, noting the âvery clearâ rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court.
âThe state has a right to ensure that a woman receives sufficient information to give fully informed consent,â Lauinger commented, adding that the law provides important information to a woman in advance of an âirrevocable, lethal act.â
âMany women suffer severe psychological and emotional trauma as a result of having had abortions,â he explained, contending that the law will âhelp empower women.â
Countering the claims of the CRR, Lauinger said the law does not intrude on a womanâs privacy or violate the doctor-patient relationship.
âWe believe the description of the images on the ultrasound screen is a very logical and proper part of the informed consent process. A woman is entitled to the benefit of this information. A doctor is obliged to provide that information. The law doesnât tell the doctor how to describe the images, but he is to describe what is depicted on the screen.â
To CRRâs claim that a court fight will waste taxpayer money, he replied:
âIt is they who are filing the lawsuit. That charge makes no sense.â
Asked how the law will affect abortion doctors, Lauinger answered that abortion is âan assembly-line, mass-production type of processâ that is âextremely impersonalâ and has âvirtually no interchange between the abortionist and the woman.â
âSo this will provide much more beneficial information to a woman before she gets the abortion,â he explained.
If the doctor is the one explaining the images of the ultrasound screen, he noted, the law will actually increase the amount of contact between the doctors and the patient.
The law may also increase the amount of time a doctor spends explaining the consequences of abortion on her unborn child.
âThe abortion industry tries to hide the truth from women about the baby in the womb. This law will help provide to the women a window on her womb.â
In Lauingerâs view, it is much better for a woman to have that knowledge before she takes the âirrevocable and lethal step of having her own child killed by abortion.â Otherwise, she could suffer âdevastating resultsâ when she sees an ultrasound on television or on a friendâs refrigerator and feels âpowerless to undo the past.â
Asked to explain why legislators were so supportive of the law, he said Oklahoma has a âwonderful legislatureâ and âgreat elected officialsâ in the state House and Senate.
âThe people of Oklahoma are pro-life, this issue is one with which our legislators are familiar.â
âThey recognize the commonsense benefits of providing a woman all possible info prior to an abortion,â Lauinger explained. âHopefully many unborn children will have their very lives spared.â
Legislators who did not support the bill are âoverlooking some important factors,â he thought.
Abortion facilities routinely perform ultrasounds already, including the facility that has filed suit against such laws, he reported. âThey acknowledged that they do an ultrasound before every abortion that they perform.
âWhat this bill does is require the abortion facility to turn the screen at an angle where the mother may view it. She can see it if she wants to look.
âSuch a commonsense measure could save a lot of lives and spare a lot of women a lifetime of emotional and psychological anguish. We are disappointed that some might not vote for it, and very disappointed that the governor chose to veto it.
âWe donât do pregnant women any favors when we hide the truth from them,â Lauinger told CNA.