Originally published at Jason's Fresh Produce. You can comment here or there.
A friend of mine was recently infuriated by this article. The crux of the article is that anti-abortion activists are supporting legislation that will REQUIRE a sonogram before a woman gets an abortion. Basically, you make her watch the little heartbeat before she gets rid of the life inside her.
While I don’t support the goal, I find the tactic ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING. Without legislating (the legality of the act of abortion), you can potentially massively alter the number of abortions performed. I imagine–without looking at any numbers–that this would be far more compelling than merely telling a woman “Your fetus has a heartbeat.” Even hard-skinned, logical, rational, pro-choice me would be hard-pressed to go forward with an abortion after watching my fetus’s heart beat.
The article calls this “emotional blackmail.” Indeed, I would agree that it brings emotion to the fore. And there are probably women for whom this would provoke wracking guilt, without changing the ultimate decision.
However, my question is: how can we use this other places? What if we could make a “magic mirror–” i.e., a real-time digitally-edited image– showing you experiencing the negative consequences of your actions.
Putting more twinkies in your cupboard? He’s a picture of you as a fat-ass. Smoking more cigarettes? Here’s a picture of you yellow-skinned and bent over an oxygen tank. Thinking of shop-lifting that sweater? Here’s you behind bars… wearing an absolutely fabulous sweater!
My point is that humans are dumb, especially when making long-term decisions, but through technology we could harness that dumbness–by emotionally blackmailing people–and help prevent poor choices.
What if someone had showed the same girl on the abortion table a video of the fetal heartbeat right as she was about to engage in the act of creating one? How about instead of catching the problem too late, we put pictures of pregnant chicks on boxes of condoms? And put them at the front of the store? And instead of a price-tag on the box, there’s an advertisement for the state legal maximum of palimony payments?