Gavel and Ultrasound

Oklahoma judge nixes ultrasound law, pretends abortion is health care

Not every case can be a winner. In Oklahoma, District Judge Bryan Dixon has invalidated the state’s law requiring abortionists to show their patients ultrasound images and read them descriptions of their babies before performing abortions:

District Judge Bryan Dixon ruled the statute passed by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2010 is an unconstitutional special law, and is [sic] can’t be enforced because it addresses only patients, physicians and sonographers dealing with abortions without addressing other medical care.

In response, Oklahomans for Life Chairman Tony Lauinger points out that “abortion is different than any other medical procedure,” and therefore regulations on it shouldn’t necessarily have to be uniform with other procedures. Which seems like basic common sense – even similar medical procedures and conditions can have a wide range of differing nuances and circumstances, requiring different considerations. Why should a judge be able to keep Oklahoma from taking those differences into account?

In this case, the difference with abortion is as significant as it is obvious. Rarely do a doctor’s and a patient’s medical decisions so directly and irreversibly affect the well-being of a third party – the unborn baby – yet Dixon won’t tolerate giving that baby the slightest consideration.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said Wednesday’s ruling reflects a backlash against legislation she called hostile to women, their doctors and their rights.

‘The court has resoundingly affirmed what should not be a matter of controversy at all — that women have both a fundamental right to make their own choices about their reproductive health, and that government has no place in their decisions,’ Northup said.

As Ms. Northup knows perfectly well, the law in question has no effect whatsoever on any woman’s “right” to make any decision. A woman could watch the ultrasound video; listen to her baby’s heartbeat; and hear everything about his or her limbs, brainwaves, heartbeat, breathing, and survivability outside the womb – and it would still be perfectly legal for her to choose to abort anyway. She would face no legal restrictions or punishment whatsoever.

Does Ms. Northup have any appreciation of how extraordinary that is? Our society routinely throws people in prison for taking life with far less intent and forethought than that. The law currently allows people to commit intentional homicide against a certain segment of the population.  Yet informing people of the plain fact that this is what they’re doing is too burdensome?

Believe me, I’d rather government have very little to do with micromanaging medical procedures. But the only reason we’re having this conversation at all is because judges like Bryan Dixon have perverted the law, allowing something entirely different to become falsely categorized under the heading of “health care.” I’d personally like nothing more than to extract abortion from medicine and return it to where it belongs – criminal justice – but before we can do that, we have to reverse decades of bad judicial precedent from judges like Bryan Dixon, who are determined to keep abortion legally misdiagnosed.

  • oldmanbob

    If Oklaoma has a recall law…put it use.

    • Ducats69376

      Agreed.  Let’s get rid of Gov. Mary Fallin once and for all.

  • Oedipa Mossmoon

    Take heart, Mr. Freiburger, many, many women will continue to have ultrasounds prior to an abortion procedure. The only difference is that it will be out of a judgement made in the medical arena, not in the political one.

    • Calvin Freiburger

      “Medical” is an interesting definition for an arena in which the decision is made to kill people for elective reasons…we must be reading different Hippocratic Oaths.

      • Oedipa Mossmoon

        Well, the law itself concedes it’s a medical procedure, otherwise it wouldn’t be aimed at regulating doctors. Why not give these ultrasound duties to priests or sidewalk counselors? That might even be more effective for your side, eh?

        As quixotic as that stance may seem to me, it must be serious to you, because it apparently drove you to misquote Oklahomans for Life Chairman Tony Lauinger when you erased the word “medical” from the quote “abortion is different than any other medical procedure.”

        Journalistic note: usually when you cleave a section out of a quote like that an ellipsis ( … ) is used to denote it.

        • Calvin Freiburger

          The quote has been fixed. I’m not sure how I accidentally omitted the word medical but it certainly was an accident. I apologize for my mistake.

          That said, legal classification doesn’t change the reality of the situation. If abortion is medical, then surely you can answer:

          – What’s the medical purpose of performing an abortion in cases where a pregnancy does not pose a medical threat to the life or health of the mother?

          – How often in areas other than abortion does medicine involve treating one person by killing another without the second person’s knowledge or consent?

          • Oedipa Mossmoon

            Well I guess I’m just more interested in the legal definition than you are. If abortion is criminalized, certainly abortion doctors would not be doctors but would be killers.

            As it stands now we give women jurisdiction over that decision.
            You’d like that not to be the case, let’s just say we agree on at least that much.

          • Ducats69376

            Impending Miscarriage
            There are instances in pregnancy when it is clear a miscarriage is going to happen. Typically within the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, this most often occurs when no fetal heartbeat can be detected by ultrasound or heartbeat monitor. Another sign is that blood levels of HCG begin to decline because the fetus is no longer living. Once it is determined that a miscarriage will happen, some women elect to have the fetus removed via abortion, in order to not put their body through the miscarriage process. A miscarriage carries a greater physical risk to a woman’s health than an abortion, and can result in medical complications including hemorrhage, infertility, products of conception being left in the uterus and extensive pain.
            Birth Defects
            Modern medical technology allows for the detection of birth defects during pregnancy. Through ultrasound, blood tests and amniocentesis, a pregnant woman can find out if her fetus is at risk for birth defects, and in many cases get a definitive answer of what those defects are. In cases where it is determined there is a birth defect or a high risk, some women choose to opt for an abortion, to avoid the suffering the child will experience as a result of their birth defects. In more severe birth defect cases, such as Trisomy 13 and Potter’s Syndrome, the baby would die either during or immediately after birth, having no chance of survival.
            (I’m sure in the defect cases you’ll gladly open your home to take in all these handicapped children and pay for their care for the rest of their life, correct?)

            “How often in areas other than abortion does medicine involve treating one person by killing another without the second person’s knowledge or consent”? 

            As I noted above, an embryo is not a person.  The pregnant woman is, however.

            There, I answered your questions.  That’s what responsible people do.  You should try it sometime.

          • Calvin Freiburger

            First off, I applaud your ability to copy/paste paragraphs from other websites and try passing them off as your own. Apparently “that’s what responsible people do,” too.

            Me: “What’s the medical purpose of performing an abortion in cases where a
            pregnancy does not pose a medical threat to the life or health of the

            You: “Impending Miscarriage…A miscarriage carries a greater physical risk to a woman’s health than an abortion.”

            Looks like somebody didn’t bother to read the instructions…

            Regarding birth defects, that’s not a medical case – i.e., the abortion is not providing treatment to any sort of disease or injury. Deciding to kill a baby with birth defects is a value judgment in which one person presumes to decide the quality of life for another.

            “An embryo is not a person.” As noted above, you’re wrong. So I repeat the question: How often in areas other than abortion does medicine involve treating
            one person by killing another without the second person’s knowledge or

          • Ducats69376

            Of course I copied and pasted.  You think I want to type all that?

            The Supreme court says an embryo is not a person and I happen to hold the same view.  Just because you happen to disagree with them does not make you correct and everyone else wrong.

            The answer is there is not a medical procedure that involves treating one person by killing another without the second person’s knowledge or 
            consent.  And there still isn’t.  You believe a developing zygote is a person, I do not.  Multiple definitions held by millions of people.  Incidentally, If mine is the law, society continues as it has; women and their doctors make pregnancy decisions.  If yours is the law, instant black market that must be policed.  Who is it that wants small government again?  Uh oh, off topic, don’t scold me.

            I’ll pretend for two seconds that it’s any of my business, your business, or anyone else’s on the planet why a woman wants an abortion.  I will get into her head and try to discover why she wants to end her pregnancy, kill her fetus, kill her zygote, pick the words you like.  I have no idea how to do that, and further it’s none of my, or anyone else’s, business.  The medical purpose is she chooses not to carry a baby to term and deliver.  Why?  Ask the thousands of women who have had an abortion.  You’ll get thousands of answers, all correct… for the woman you are asking, no one else.  Shocking, isn’t it?  Of course this won’t satisfy you, but who are you to dictate to others the acceptability of their medical reason?    I wonder if there’s a comparable men’s issue.  Like holding them accountable for all that sperm that leads to all those abortions.  Yeah, way too intrusive.

            So the answer is there are thousands of answers.

            You can go back to insulting me now.

          • Calvin Freiburger

            “Just because you happen to disagree with them does not make you correct and everyone else wrong.”

            That’s right. It’s familiarizing yourself with Blackmun’s tortured logic and faulty history that makes people who defend Roe wrong.

            And the sophistry just keep coming. “Multiple people hold millions of definitions” about lots of things…but scientifically, only one of them is correct. And unless they’re treating an illness, injury, or other medical condition, those “thousands of answers” you’re talking about aren’t medical, genius.

            And abortion is a women’s issue? Like all the baby GIRLS you want to keep legally killable, in addition to baby boys? Frankly, I’m not sure how any man unwilling to protect children even qualifies as a real man.

      • Ducats69376

        United States supreme court declared that an unborn child is not a person as
        understood and protected by the constitution, but any born child is a legal person with full constitutional and legal rights.

        In a country where it is perfectly legal to be an atheist, why insert your religious views into laws under which we all must live?

        • Calvin Freiburger

          I like how you just can’t seem to figure out how repeatedly lying (in this case, the false accusation that I’m inserting religion into anything) undermines your incessant claims to be morally outraged. I also note that you’re a perfect example of how those who use reason the least and get their arguments from bumper stickers tend to also be the most arrogant about their assumed superiority.

          Unless somebody made the Supreme Court into gods when I wasn’t looking, something isn’t automatically true just because the justices say so.  The Supremes also said Dred Scott was property; do you bow to their wisdom in that case too?

          Roe is notorious for the shoddiness of its legal reasoning even among pro-choice scholars and legal experts ( Blackmun’s argument that the Constitution’s references to “persons” have no “possible pre-natal application” was specious. Blackmun was simply wrong that pre-Roe common law did not consider abortion a crime; the biggest roadblocks to criminalizing abortion were simple evidential hurdles to proving the act occurred, not moral judgments on whether or not it was murder.

          And most importantly, Blackmun didn’t even ANSWER the central question: he simply said “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins” because he couldn’t discern a consensus on the question. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the obvious problems with that approach: 1.) he’s in effect saying “I don’t know whether it’s killing, so let’s proceed as if it’s not, and 2.) since his time, we do have that consensus.

          According to modern embryology, there is simply no dispute that once fertilization has occurred, there exists a live, individual human being – a person. Even a radical pro-abort like Peter Singer admits as much; are you willing to do the same?

          • Ducats69376

            Peter Singer is a pro-abort and scholars are pro-choice.  I guess that means the term is used interchangeably.  Just guessing.

            I’ll answer your questions: no.  If you’re developing inside a person, you’re not an ‘individual human being’.  When you’re finished developing and leave this person, you are then an ‘individual human being’.  The woman can then go jump off a bridge if she chooses; the baby will survive on its own because it’s an ‘individual human being’.  If she jumped while the embryo is still developing, the embryo would die.  Thus, not an ‘individual human being’.  I sense disgust oozing out of you as I use my bumper sticker argument to agree with the Supreme Court.
            Dred Scott was an ‘individual human being’ so no, I don’t agree with the decision.

            I answered your questions, now answer mine.It is false to say ‘kill people for elective reasons…’ when you’re  legally not talking about a person.  This is not an opinion, this is fact.  You believe it’s a person based on your religious beliefs.  I’m sure you’ll argue that your opinion is not rooted in religious upbringing, but I won’t believe it.  Sorry.  I’ve known too many.  Norma McCorvey switched to pro-life.  Why?  Born again.  My point is no one cares when you believe a person begins or when I believe it does.  Until laws are in play.  Then we are forced to care.  If the law recognizes my definition of a person, society moves along peacefully as it has been.  If it recognizes yours, the following occurs: the government points a gun at the head of every pregnant woman and says, ‘you will carry that fetus to term and deliver.  Failure to do so can lead to the prosecution of you and your accomplices’.

            You may want to live in a country like that.  I don’t.

            Now you may continue insulting me.

          • Calvin Freiburger

            I know that unborn babies are people because, unlike you, I’m scientifically literate. You have to make the premeditated choice to lie about abortion opposition being all about religion because you have no scientifically valid counter-argument. If you have the courage to actually do something about your own biological ignorance, then I suggest you look up some of the following:

            “Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a
            male gamete or sperm (spermatozoo developmentn) unites with a female
            gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This
            highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us
            as a unique individual. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo).”

            Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. pp. 16, 2.

            “[The zygote], formed by the union of an oocyte and a sperm, is the beginning of a new human being.”

            Keith L. Moore, Before We Are Born: Essentials of Embryology, 7th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2008. p. 2.

            “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant
            mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that
            constitues the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the
            initiation of the life of a new individual.”

            Clark Edward Corliss, Patten’s Human Embryology: Elements of Clinical Development. New York: McGraw Hill, 1976. p. 30.

            “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant
            mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that
            constitues the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the
            initiation of the life of a new individual.”

            Clark Edward Corliss, Patten’s Human Embryology: Elements of Clinical Development. New York: McGraw Hill, 1976. p. 30.

            “The term conception refers to the union of the male and female pronuclear elements of procreation from which a new living being develops. The zygote thus formed represents the beginning of a new life.”

            J.P. Greenhill and E.A. Friedman, Biological Principles and Modern Practice of Obstetrics. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1974. pp. 17, 23.

            “Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite a new being is created which is
            alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by
            some specific condition.”

            E.L. Potter and J.M. Craig, Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant, 3rd edition. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975. p. vii.

            “Biologically speaking, human development begins at fertilization.”

            The Biology of Prenatal Develpment, National Geographic, 2006.

            But go ahead, genius. Just make something up about religion again. Because you’re such an honest, principled guy.

        • Ctauke

          because that unborn child is as you stated a CHILD – if allowed to develop it doesn’t become a dog, or cat… other animal on this planet intentionally kills it’s young before it is born…it that defines us as a more intelligent life form we are in a sad state…….God in your great mercy forgive us our sins……….

  • Ctauke

    they can pretend it’s (abortion) health care all they want it doesn’t make it so – truth is truth, you can, like I’ve told someone last week, you can put pretty frosting on it and dress it up – but the cake is still rotten!!!!!!!!