Monday, February 21, 2011

Protect A Woman's Right to Know

Last week the Texas Senate passed a measure amending the Informed Consent law to require abortion providers to make sonogram results available to pregnant women. The bill provides exceptions for special cases and medical emergencies, and is Constitutionally sound. This week, the State Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on both HB 201, a companion bill to the Senate version, as well as HB 16, which proposes a new law regarding sonograms, along with new prescribed penalties for violators.

Both House proposals would help make sure women have all the information necessary before making such a monumental, life-changing decision, and with a Republican majority in the House we shouldn't have any trouble passing one of these bills. I am somewhat concerned, however, with one of the compromises made in the Senate version regarding doctor-patient interaction.

According to the Senate version, the sonogram information, as well as any other consultation need only take place 2 hours prior to the abortion, and then not necessarily with the doctor. As recent defectors from the industry have testified, loopholes in the current informed consent law allow abortion doctors to bypass contact with patients almost entirely. As a result, the patients never meet with the doctor until they are under sedation in the 'operating' room, and any purported doctor-patient relationship is non-existent.

With any other medical procedure, doctors are required to make sure patients are fully informed, and said patients must sign multiple documents indicating they have read and understood the process. Due to the political radioactivity of abortion however, women are routinely deprived of scientific, medical information that could radically change their perspective. Claiming to care about 'women's health issues' while denying women their rights as patients is a tragic hypocrisy, and it is time to make sure women have all the facts.

No comments: