- Paul Stark
Ultrasound legislation is a commonsense effort to better empower patients
The following is a letter to the editor from MCCL that was published on March 30, 2018, in the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.
Alison Brennan's recent letter to the editor ("Minnesota health care bill would set a dangerous precedent") is off the mark and over the top.
Brennan criticizes a new Minnesota bill (H.F. 3194 and S.F. 2849) requiring that when an ultrasound is performed prior to an abortion, the pregnant woman be offered the chance to see it. Brennan calls this measure a "thinly veiled attempt to shame women."
There's no truth in that whatsoever. The legislation isn't about shaming anyone. It's about information and empowerment. The more factual medical information women have about their pregnancy and abortion, the less likely they are to make a decision they will regret.
Nor is this a case of "meddling in women's medical decisions," as Brennan describes it. Women can choose whether or not to see their ultrasounds. The bill simply guarantees that they have that choice.
Brennan's letter criticizes public officials for even considering legislation in this area. But the law regulates all sorts of things to ensure the welfare of individuals and society. Abortion-seeking women shouldn't be excluded from such concern.
Brennan assures readers that "physicians are already fulfilling their ... duty to ... fully inform their patients." But they usually don't offer women the opportunity to view their ultrasounds before abortion—hence the reason for the bill.
Women have a right to see. This ultrasound legislation is a commonsense effort to better empower patients that all Minnesotans, regardless of their views on abortion, can and should support.