An Electronic Magazine for Thinkers
The S.C. Legislature Scans an Embryo
Written March 23rd, 2007
(Disclaimer, updated 2/23/2018: The author is father of five, grandfather of eleven, great-grandfather of eight, and does not support abortion as a casual means of birth control.)
Most South Carolina legislators have very large egos and believe that not only have they been ordained to manage expenditure of tax money but also to manage the morals of the population at large.
Many are particularly interested in the fertility of the human female. No matter the circumstances that led her to pregnancy they do not want her to react to it in a manner not proscribed by them. They believe the moment a sperm collides with her egg the resulting miniscule blastocyst becomes their business. The law currently permits abortion, so until politicos can get it outlawed again they must devise some other method to influence the possibly hapless female from doing anything about her pregnancy except what they want.
Women seeking abortion in South Carolina already receive counseling. The abortion rate has dropped considerably in the last decade, but that does not satisfy the mostly male state legislature. Now they are pushing for a mandatory ultrasound scan which the female must watch before making her decision. Actually, her decision was made before she arrived at the clinic. What the state proposes is to talk her out of it. Play on her emotions. What if she chooses not to bare her belly for the scan? What if she chooses to keep her eyes shut? Will the legislators prop her eyes open with toothpicks?
Here is a girl, nearly sixteen, who knows the consequences of "unprotected sex," caught in a steamy encounter with a seventeen year old boy whose magnetism and salesmanship is no match for her desire to merely enjoy the clinches but not let things go "too far." The holier-than-thou among us will assure anyone who will listen that she shouldn't get into situations like that and her parents probably let her run wild. Human nature, however, does not always kowtow to the will of self-styled social scientists.
Not only was the boy's ardor irresistible, but her own body betrayed her by allowing her hormones to do what they were designed to do. Her willpower wilted, her resistance gave way, and one of the most dominant forces in nature took over as it has done billions of times through the ages. Their timing was terrible. A sperm made its way to an egg that was waiting for it.
She knew something was amiss when her menses did not appear on schedule. There were sleepless nights. A tearful confession to her mother. Confirmation of her condition by a doctor. The options were discussed over and over again. To make matters worse the loving boyfriend, terrified by the entire situation, didn't return phone calls and text messages. He furtively avoided her in school. Like many American males he wanted his fun but shunned responsibility for the consequences.
It was still relatively early in the first trimester and she and her parents chose abortion. Before it occurred the State of South Carolina demanded that she submit to an ultrasound scan. Evolution was doing its thing and the microscopic blastocysthad morphed into an a tiny embryo complete with a tail and bumps which would form limbs. The state hoped seeing it would cause her to change her mind.
It's hard to imagine how even a highly skilled technician can produce a meaningful image of an embryo before it has grown into a fetus and begins to establish its human traits, but politicians do not concern themselves with matters like that. They want scans done before any abortion takes place and are determined that South Carolina will be the first state in the nation to make the procedure mandatory. Their goal, of course, is to play upon the emotions of a female in the hope that a glimpse of this tiny potential human will make her drop her plans to abandon her pregnancy.
Until the middle of the nineteenth century the Catholic Church, expert in subjects like life and death, declared that life began at the "quickening" within the mother-to-be. That is, the first fetal twitches as the nervous and vascular systems begin to function. It is only in the last one-hundred and fifty years or so that people have come to believe that the union of a sperm and egg immediately creates a human being with legal rights superior to the host in which the cell divisions commence. If a woman sweeps it away with an abortifacient she is declared a murderer, whereas throughout most of history she would have been considered, by other females at least, a wise woman trying to control her life. Her accusers may also believe that destroying an acorn is the destruction of a full-grown oak tree.
Abortions should never be encouraged, and should be resorted to only when all other options have been carefully weighed. But they should not be micromanaged by the mostly male S.C. legislature, lest members be accused of following the Muslim Qu'Ran which declares that "Men are in Charge of Women." Until one of the meddling males becomes unintentionally pregnant they should butt out and drop their absurd attempt to coerce females trapped in an unwanted pregnancy.
March 23rd, 2007