In the United States, abortion opponents have supported legislation requiring that abortion patients be offered the opportunity to view their preprocedure ultrasound. Little research has examined women's interest in and emotional response to such viewing.
Data from 702 women who received abortions at 30 facilities throughout the United States between 2008 and 2010 were analyzed. Mixed-effects multinomial logistic regression analysis was used to determine which characteristics were associated with being offered and choosing to view ultrasounds, and with reporting positive or negative emotional responses to viewing. Grounded theory analytic techniques were used to qualitatively describe women's reports of their emotional responses.
Forty-eight percent of participants were offered the opportunity to view their ultrasound, and nulliparous women were more likely than others to receive an offer (odds ratio, 2.3). Sixty-five percent of these women (31% overall) chose to view the image; nulliparous women and those living in a state that regulates viewing were more likely than their counterparts to do so (1.7 and 2.5, respectively). Some 213 women reported emotional responses to viewing; neutral emotions (fine, nothing) were the most commonly reported ones, followed by negative emotions (sad, guilty, upset) and then positive emotions (happy, excited). Women who visited clinics with a policy of offering viewing had increased odds of reporting a negative emotion (2.6).
Ultrasound viewing appears not to have a singular emotional effect. The presence of state regulation and facility policies matters for women's interest in and responses to viewing.
What I wonder is: at what stage of gestation were these viewings take place?
I remember when I went in the hospital for some bleeding at five weeks for Daughter Number 3, I took a look at the ultrasound, and I had a tough time seeing anything. I could see the beating heart, but I had difficulty making out the rest of her.
In subsequent viewings (the next one being a follow-up at 8 weeks) I could make out her body.
I would find it normal for a woman to not have a strong reaction at five weeks.
The ultrasound can only be manipulated so that the view seems smaller or less detailed. Kermit Gosnell would manipulate the ultrasound to get the right measure so that he could say the fetuses he killed were under 24 weeks.