Waiting Periods for Abortions?

The Colorado legislature will consider a bill to require waiting periods and ultrasound services before a woman can obtain an abortion:

Lawmaker seeking new requirements for abortions
By Mike Saccone
The Daily Sentinel
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Women in Colorado seeking to end their pregnancies would have to be offered an ultrasound before they undergo an abortion under legislation proposed by Sen. David Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs. …

Senate Bill 95, introduced Monday, would require abortion providers to give information about receiving ultrasounds to pregnant women who are considering abortion. The bill would require doctors to administer an ultrasound if the woman requests one. Women who are informed of their ultrasound rights and still choose to have the abortion would be required to wait 24 hours before having the procedure.

This bill would violate the rights of doctors and patients by putting political force between them. Mainly the bill would increase the costs — of money and time — of obtaining an abortion. Saccone continues:

Jody Berger, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said women often travel long distances to obtain abortions, and making them wait 24 hours to obtain one, after being advised of the availability of ultrasounds, could be a financial burden.

She said it could, for example, force the women to stay overnight at a hotel or make a second long drive to an abortion clinic.

Beyond the extra, needless expense of time and money, the bill treats women as though they were incapable of making their own decisions without the help of politicians. Women are already fully aware of the nature and implications of abortion, and they can already order an ultrasound if they want one. The bill likewise subjects doctors to the whims of political force.

Ironically, Schultheis answered yes to the following question: “Would you oppose legislation mandating a waiting period before the purchase of a firearm?” Apparently, Schultheis believes that women are responsible enough to decide to buy a gun when they want, but not to get an abortion when they want.

Just as the anti-gun lobby attempts to impose additional costs on gun owners in order to discourage gun ownership, so Schultheis wants to impose additional costs on women who want an abortion.

As women have the right to purchase tools of self-defense without political interference, so they have the right to get an abortion without political interference. Of course, Schultheis believes that women have no moral right, and should be striped of their legal right, to get an abortion. He’s wrong, but rather than address the issue head-on, he undermines his other views in calling for costly and invasive political restrictions on legally permitted actions.