Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Anti-Choice Ultrasound Bill Introduced in Annapolis
Maryland is one of eleven states considering ultrasound legislation for women having abortions according to this Washington Times article. While Maryland’s bill may seem less draconian than bills in places like Nebraska, Texas and Indiana, it is still nothing to ignore. The bill moving forward affects abortion providers in Anne Arundel County and would require abortion providers to offer women an ultrasound, a print out of the ultrasound image, and, if developed, an opportunity to listen to the fetal heartbeat.
This bill is a clear intrusion on the doctor-patient relationship and is a thinly veiled attempt to imply that abortion providers somehow withhold information. It seems like anti-choice forces in the Maryland legislature are merely trying to insert politics into the practice of medicine.
It is imperative that decisions about medical procedures, including ultrasound, be made by medical professionals, not politicians. Ultrasounds should only be given when medically justified as they are not without risk. Ultrasound technology has been linked to the possible effects of growth retardation, problems with speech development or dyslexia. A 2006 study of field mice with ultrasound exposure found the mice experienced disrupted brain cell activity. For humans this could mean epilepsy, autism or mental retardation. The bottom line? These decisions should not be made in the Maryland legislature, but left to doctors and their patients.
The political motivation behind this bill is clear. Singling out abortion in this way is purely political. This legislation is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to dissuade women from choosing abortion. We urge the Maryland legislature to reject this unnecessary intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship.
Proposed by state senators Bryan Simonaire (District 31) and Janet Greenip (District 33), Senate Bill 195 was first introduced near the end of January and would go into effect, if passed, in October.
Contact Senators Simonaire or Greenip to let them know you oppose Bill 195:
James Senate Office Building, Room 414
11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 841-3658, (301) 858-3658
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3658 (toll free)
fax: (410) 841-3586, (301) 858-3586
321 James Senate Office Bldg
Annapolis, MD 21401-1991
(410) 841-3568, (301) 858-3568
800-492-7122 x3568 (toll free)