New Study Shows That Forced Ultrasounds Do Not Deter Women From Having Abortions


Conservatives in states across the nation have been pushing laws that force women to have a transvaginal ultrasound if they want an abortion. They push these laws because they believe women will change their minds about having an abortion. But do these laws actually work?

A new study conducted over three years by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project with the help of the University of Texas, the University of Alabama, and Ibis Reproductive Health – a non-profit research group – have found that not only do women NOT change their minds about having an abortion when subjected to transvaginal probes and 24 hour waiting periods, both are burdensome to the women who must undergo them. The team of researchers surveyed 318 women in clinics across the state of Texas.

According to the Austin Chronicle:

The researchers found that 89% of women surveyed felt “extremely confident or confident” in their decision to choose abortion both before and after the forced ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period, while 31% reported that the 24-hour waiting period had a negative impact on their emotional well-being. Moreover, the waiting period is a burden physically and financially: 23% found it difficult to actually get to the clinic for the extra visit – indeed, the mean distance women had to travel for their appointments was 42 miles in each direction, with some women traveling as far as 400 miles one way – while 45% reported additional out-of-pocket expenses, on average $146, related to transportation, child care costs, or lost wages.

In other words, forced ultrasounds are nothing more than a waste of time and money in attempt to stop a medical procedure that a majority of women want the right to have. That means states are using taxpayer dollars to enact useless and unnecessary laws that have no affect on a woman’s choice to have an abortion. The laws do far more financial and emotional damage than they do to prevent abortions. But that’s not all the researchers discovered:

45% of the women said that in the three months prior to becoming pregnant they had been unable to access their preferred form of birth control; 50% of those women said that was because the contraception cost too much, that they couldn’t find a clinic to provide the birth control, or that they had a problem obtaining a prescription.

So Texas Republicans, in their attempt to end abortion in the state by attacking contraception and closing women’s health clinics, are actually causing at least half of the unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortions in the first place.

The fact is, when women have easy access to affordable contraception they use it, thus preventing future abortions. Isn’t that what Republicans want? Shouldn’t they be singing the praises of contraception, the only real way to lower the number of abortions? The problem is that Texas Republicans and Republicans across the nation think abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy, even though study after study has blown that belief out of the water. Republicans also are also under the laughable notion that life begins at conception and prefer forcing women into pregnancies that they’ll clearly only abort later by any means necessary, even if the abortion is unsafe.

It’s clear that women aren’t allowing transvaginal ultrasounds, the equivalent of state sanctioned rape, to deter their decision to have a constitutionally protected abortion procedure. Republicans really only have one choice if they want to decrease the number of abortions. It’s called drop the abstinence bullsh*t and make contraception affordable and easily accessible. And include contraception in sex education courses. When women know they can protect themselves, they’ll do it. And when this happens, the next studies will show that the majority of women who are able to access and afford contraception will have more WANTED pregnancies and will rely less on abortion because there are LESS unwanted ones.