Women’s Reactions to Preabortion Ultrasound Images

What abortion opponents claim: Viewing a preabortion ultrasound image will dissuade women from having an abortion.

What the research shows: In a study involving women recruited at abortion clinics in 2008–2010, some participants who viewed a preabortion ultrasound image had negative emotional responses. But the most common response was neutral, and some women had generally positive reactions. The researchers found no support for the notion that viewing the image promotes feelings of bonding with the fetus or that viewing an image later in pregnancy, when the fetus is “more ‘baby-like,’” is tied to more negative emotional responses.

Cover illustrations of Margaret Sanger © Matthew and Eve Levine