The Alabama legislature is at it again. They’ve promoted bills allowing employers to deny birth control coverage to employees and TRAP laws intended to shut down clinics that provide safe abortion care. Now Alabama’s forced pregnancy brigade is focusing on new mandatory waiting periods and informed consent laws. If HB 350 becomes law, women seeking safe abortion care will receive a list of sites where they can obtain free ultrasounds, all of which are crisis pregnancy centers that do not provide the forced ultrasounds required by the state, but do intend to talk women out of their decisions. Women would also receive information on a state website of resources allegedly available for a woman who continues her pregnancy to term. She would also have to be provided with the business card of the physician who will be doing the abortion, and printed materials telling her abortion increases her risk of breast cancer (it does not), and that “Abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
The “abortion will give you breast cancer” statement isn’t the only lie in the informed consent materials. A new addition will have the physician tell the woman “If the unborn child is viable or has reached a gestational age of more than 19 weeks, the unborn child may be able to survive outside the womb.” [emphasis added]
Since 19 weeks gestational age is a mere 17 weeks post-fertilization, and not even halfway into a normal 40 week gestational/38 week post fertilization pregnancy, no, a fetus at 19 weeks cannot survive outside the womb, not even with extensive medical assistance. The earliest surviving baby was born at 21 weeks 6 days. Although they can be put on respirators to breathe for them, the lungs must develop enough to be able to process the air, development that doesn’t even begin until 17 weeks gestation.
Besides codifying medical lies into “informed consent,” the new bill will also force women to listen to the heart tones of the fetus or embryo prior to an abortion (although she can still turn her head away from the ultrasound placed in front of her while the physician describes the picture—at least this year) during their state mandated ultrasound.
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Inaccurate medical declarations, state-mandated forms to trick women into visiting crisis pregnancy centers and emotional manipulations in the exam room prior to the termination? Alabama legislators are obviously determined to ensure that if their plan to close the state’s clinics fail, they can bully women out of abortions instead.