Monday, February 26, 2007

What's next, kidnapping?

These anti-choice "pregnancy counselling services" are really pushing their luck.

The latest salvo in anti-choice stealth tactics is the "sonogram on wheels" being done by EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centres in New York. They park their Fetusmobiles outside abortion clinics and their "sidewalk counsellors" try to stop women from entering the clinics and invite them into the fetusmobile for a free sonogram.

"An anti-abortion group, once investigated for unauthorized medical practices, today is launching a new front in the battle: free sonograms in front of South Bronx abortion clinics. Women coming to the clinics will be met by sidewalk activists from EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers, who will invite them into a 32-foot, ultrasound-equipped van for a hot drink and the not-so-subtle suggestion they change their minds."

Is this even legal? Not just the coercion, which is bad enough, but I thought you had to have some kind of radiology ticket to do ultrasounds. These are people without so much as a veterinarian's license, and take note that they've already been investigated for performing unauthorized medical practices. If this is legal, it's close to the line.

"We want them to see the baby, hear the heartbeat and think seriously about what they're doing," said EMC President Chris Slattery.

What a novel concept, introducing mental torture into a woman's decision to have an abortion. For many women abortion is an emotional decision anyway, if only because early in pregnancy the body is so overwhelmed by hormonal changes that you're half-nuts. So trying to manipulate such women by adding stress to what might already be a stressful situation sounds a little, oh, I don't know -- sadistic?

Then again, depending on the woman, it could even backfire. If someone had shown a sonogram to me, the effect would have been to make me leap up and run, not walk, back to the clinic.