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Study: Nearly All Women Who View Ultrasound Images Still Continue With Abortion

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Nearly all women seeking an abortion– including those who viewed ultrasound images before the procedure – followed through in the health care termination. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Nearly all women seeking an abortion– including those who viewed ultrasound images before the procedure – followed through in the health care termination. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

CBS Atlanta (con't)

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) – Nearly all women seeking an abortion– including those who viewed ultrasound images before the procedure – followed through in the termination of the pregnancy.

A new study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology regarding pre-procedure abortion care looks into speculation that viewing ultrasound images could dissuade women from having an abortion. However, the data from more than 15,757 women seeking an abortion found that 98.8 percent of all pregnancies were inevitably terminated – and 98.4 percent of pregnancies among women who viewed their ultrasound images followed through in the abortion.

The medical record data for the nearly 16,000 women seeking an abortion at a large urban provider were analyzed for factors associated with choosing to continue pregnancy. The patients received a pre-procedure ultrasound scan and were offered the opportunity to view the internal images.

Less than half – 42.5 percent of the patients – opted to view the ultrasound images. Among the women with “high decision certainty,” viewing the images was not associated with their decision to continue with the pregnancy. However, 7.4 percent of women who reported medium or low decision certainty showed that it was “significantly associated” with their decision to continue with pregnancy.

Ten states currently have laws requiring doctors to perform an ultrasound before abortion procedures, and offer the results to the patients. Three of those states mandate that a doctor must display and describe the ultrasound images to the patient.

Ninety-nine percent of the women who did not look at the images ended the pregnancies in comparison to the 98.4 percent who did view the ultrasound images.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, 765,651 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 49 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2010 was 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years and the abortion ratio was 228 abortions per 1,000 live births.

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