On ultrasounds, “good mothers”, and women’s reproductive rights.
Supporters of women’s reproductive rights and autonomy have cried foul at Carly Fiorina’s cynical use of ultrasound as a backdrop to her fact-challenged takedown of Planned Parenthood. In a recent video filmed in a private clinic in South Carolina, Fiorina stands at the side of Lacey Thomas, seventeen weeks pregnant with her second child. With more than a dozen reporters in the room, Ms Fiorina gripped Ms. Thomas’ elbow, laughed with her about baby names and the joys of pregnancy, and marveled at the visible spinal cord—then left to address reporters, using the moment as an opportunity to denounce public funding for Planned Parenthood clinics.
While much media attention has focused on the expansive range of reproductive health care offered to women at Planned Parenthood clinics across the nation, and the inaccuracies of Fiorina’s statements regarding the videos alleged to have been made at a Planned Parenthood clinic, it serves us well to focus more closely on the ultrasound itself. My work on our cultural obsession with celebrity pregnancy brings to light the important ways that ultrasound technology is put to work for cultural and political purposes.