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Melissa and Echidne, as well as many others, have been discussing the Saletan article on ultrasound.

I haven’t noticed an MD after Saletan. I’m not aware that he has any degrees or training in medical imaging. He’s an on-line columnist and occasional media talking head. Where is his basis for making medical decisions?

I use ultrasound [above 20kHz] for cleaning small parts and chasing off pests. While there have been no major studies that have revealed any problems with ultrasonic imaging, that may be because it is only used when problems are suspected. There are an awful lot of babies born in this world who have never been scanned by ultrasound.

I wonder how Mr. Saletan and legislators who are pushing sonographs would feel if they were required to have a prostate exam and marriage license before they could get a prescription for Viagra or buy condoms?


1 Steve Bates { 05.02.07 at 9:32 pm }

Putting aside, but only for a moment, how deeply offensive and condescending to women Mr. Saletan’s thesis is, a medical diagnostic tool should never become a device for pushing a sociopolitical agenda.

Why? Because there is risk in even the most benign medical procedure, and I’m unwilling to concede without better evidence that ultrasound imaging of a fetus is completely benign to the woman or the fetus.

Forcing women to undergo a medically unnecessary procedure just to persuade them to make a particular choice… in a matter which the Supreme Court has twice decided is by fundamental right their choice to make… is unconscionable, not to mention condescending as hell to a woman regarding her intellect and moral capacity.

None of that, of course, bothers Saletan, any more than it apparently bothers the Five Bishops on the Supreme Court.

I can’t find the link, but one feminist blogger suggested that Saletan should be subjected to viewing an ultrasound image of his own head, which may turn out to “look like a blob, a [brain], or neither,” to paraphrase Saletan’s own words.

2 Bryan { 05.02.07 at 9:52 pm }

I can’t recommend using it on the brain, as I’m not comfortable with the safety factors. I know what it does in the cleaning machine, and I have a very high range of hearing so that I get a head ache if the machine is on too long.

I can’t believe that bombarding a fetus in a bubble with sound waves is good for the fetus or the mother. There has to be an effect or there would be nothing on the screen. Too many “great advances” have proven to be problems later. If there is no medical reason for doing, why risk it?

3 BadTux { 05.03.07 at 4:21 pm }

I’ll just point out that an ultrasound will also show your intestines writhing and wriggling in your abdomen, and that cancer is living too. So we should never remove cancerous intestines because we are destroying life when we do that, and life is sacred. The same goes with using antibiotics. You are killing innocent little baccili when you do that, and every life is sacred. (And don’t even get me started on the massacre of millions of innocent spermatzoa-Americans every day, especially in the mommy’s basements of rightwing war-bloggers nationwide!),

— Badtux the Sacred Life Penguin

4 Bryan { 05.03.07 at 4:32 pm }

What about the chicken embryos with a side of corn embryos they eat for breakfast? [Okay, so not that many people eat grits, so scratch the corn and add pig.]

5 Steve Bates { 05.03.07 at 6:29 pm }

BadTux, why do I find myself humming a famous song from a Monty Python movie?

Bryan, I’ve often been amused by this thought: human embryos are not the same as human beings, and scrambled chicken embryos are a food item. You have to give me points for consistency! And a side of grits… please give me grits as well.

(I hope I can post this before that thunderstorm arrives…)

6 Bryan { 05.03.07 at 6:56 pm }

It’s like finding a “humane” method of executing someone. You’re killing them, there’s nothing “humane” in the concept.