Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Lions and Tigers and Ultrasounds, Oh my!

Well, it appears Slate's William Saletan has angered quite a few pro-choice bloggers for suggesting, of all things, he'd vote in favor of ultrasound legislation as long as the government paid for it.

It seems they think Saletan's reason for not being opposed to laws which give women who are considering having an abortion the option of viewing their ultrasound is because he thinks (either consciously or not) women are stupid. How being in favor of giving women the option of viewing their ultrasound means Saletan thinks women considering abortion are stupid isn't really explained past the assertion that women considering abortion know what they're doing so the government shouldn't have any say in what information they're given by an abortion provider.

In probably my favorite attack on Saletan (the 3rd link above- language warning), Amanda Marcotte says,
"As a general rule, when you request that a doctor relieve you of an unwanted intrusion, you have a fairly good idea of what that intrusion is. Is there a danger of people getting cavities drilled who don't know what a cavity is and what it does to your teeth? I think that most of us are even more familiar with the process of pregnancy, what it does, and what the results are than we are of cavities, yet no one is suggesting that we need to have dentists show pictures of the cavity to us and ask us if we really understand what's happening when it gets drilled.

But men get cavities, so that sort of thing would be insulting to their intelligence and sense of self-determination."

Except that dentists do get informed consent before operating on patients (including, amazingly, male patients). I remember reading and signing a number of forms and watching a short film before having my wisdom teeth removed and I was the one who requested they (along with another tooth) be removed. Was I insulted? Of course not. Like most rational human beings, I'm not opposed to being more informed about the surgery which I'm about to have.

For other examples, here is a 7-page informed consent form for fixed prosthodontic treatment (like having a crown or a bridge put in). The California Dental Association has this to say about informed consent:
Fully informed consent is essential to the ethical practice of dentistry and reflects the patients right of self-decision. Except as exempted by state law, a dentist has the obligation to obtain the fully informed consent of the patient or the patients legal guardian prior to treatment
More and more it seems to me the defense of a woman's right to have an abortion by pro-choice bloggers seem less and less about giving more options to women and more about making sure abortionists can do whatever they'd like.

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