Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A question from before this campaign began

Even without being a declared candidate in this race, as recently as the Chirilagua Festival this year, it seems the first go-to question on the minds of those in the other party is about the ultrasound bill.

A reporter called today about a range of issues, including controversies like that from the recent General Assembly session this year. I shared with him my thoughts on some of those issues, and I share those with you here.

Abortion clinic regulations
I read the regulations for myself last year, and yes I support them.
  • Requiring the doctor to ensure the woman is in stable condition is a good requirement.
  • Requiring doctors to verify villi or fetal parts present is a good requirement.
  • As for the hospital building code requirement, yes, being able to manage potential emergency situations is a good requirement.
  • Requiring facilities to report all patient or staff deaths is a good requirement.
  • Precautions from hazards of fire should be in place.
These are all basic policies and standards of safety. If clinics are unable to meet these requirements, shouldn't we be asking other questions about the clinics themselves? Some of these clinics have been around almost as long as Roe v. Wade itself. We're coming up on 40 years. It is time for some oversight.

Ultrasound bill
Women consulting with pro-life counseling about abortion will decide to keep the baby about 20 percent of the time after speaking with a pro-life counselor. That number skyrockets to 90-95 percent after they see an ultrasound of the baby inside them.

The ultrasound bill (HB 462) is an attempt to provide this kind of informed consent to all women seeking abortion. From the bill description:
Abortion; informed consent. Requires that, as a component of informed consent to an abortion, to determine gestational age, every pregnant female shall undergo transabdominal ultrasound imaging and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion.

The medical professional performing the ultrasound must obtain written certification from the woman that the opportunity was offered and whether the woman availed herself of the opportunity to see the ultrasound image or hear the fetal heartbeat. A copy of the ultrasound and the written certification shall be maintained in the woman's medical records at the facility where the abortion is to be performed.

The ultrasound is not required if the woman is the victim of rape or incest and the incident was reported to law enforcement.

This bill incorporates HB 261.

Ultrasounds can be performed internally or externally depending on if it is an early or late stage pregnancy. Internal ultrasounds are performed already to determine the stage of the pregnancy, and sometimes to provide a guide for removing "fetal parts present" (see above).

Therefore, to debate this bill as if internal ultrasounds are brand new components to these procedures is misleading.

Second, think about the procedure that follows the ultrasound. It is not as if the removal of the "fetal parts present" is also not an extremely invasive and violating procedure for the woman. To condemn one and not the other is hypocrisy.

It is our representation from this very district that is directly responsible for creating the national firestorm over the ultrasound bill with selective and hypocritical representations of the facts involved. I received his email on February 15 of this year, and upon reading his statement, I immediately knew the civility of our public dialogue had sunk to a new low. I have seen no deviation of my opponent from the agenda that precedes us.

One question before the people of the 45th District in this election is do we want to continuing misrepresenting the good faith efforts of people of conscience to pursue what they believe are good and reasonable policies, or must we vilify them and accuse them of creating state-sponsored crimes because they disagree with our position?

Had I been a member of the state legislature, I would have had some suggestions of my own for handling the misrepresentation of the bill's intent.

Instead of requiring a separate procedure before the main procedure itself, I would have suggested the following: require the ultrasound that is already part of the whole procedure itself to be optionally accessible to the woman. I believe that could have prevailed. Any of these options are better than the secrecy that clouds the procedure for women now.

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