The wonderful Emily Bazelon of Slate speaks out against Oklahoma’s (and Alabama’s and Louisiana’s and Mississippi’s) “paternalistic” ultrasound law, which forces women to receive ultrasounds in order to see their fetus before having an abortion. Bazelon writes:

For many pregnant women, ultrasounds are like candy—there can’t be too many of those grainy black-and-white images of the fetus napping or kicking in the womb. But if you’re pregnant and don’t want to be and are considering an abortion, an ultrasound image could be an object of dread. It might force you to think about the fetus as having a separate identity or as the baby it could become.

Dread is the emotion pro-life groups look to instill when they push states to pass laws that make an ultrasound part of the abortion procedure.

Importantly, Bazelon’s story points to the “undue burden” states can pile upon pro-choice legislation, making the procedure less than accessible. In Oklahoma, where “doctors are prevailed upon to show and tell about the fetus whether or not women want to see and hear,” the burden of “dread” is both a real and a particularly disturbing one. Stay tuned later this week when I look at the pharmacist’s roll in administering contraception in the District of Columbia.

Photo by Jason DeRusha.