Legislation mandating ultrasound exams before abortion has been popping up in state houses around the US, and Rhode Island is no exception: Portsmouth representative Dan Reilly (R-72) is one of the co-sponsors of H7205, which would require medical staff to perform an unnecessary ultrasound, describe what it shows, and display it so that the woman can see it. This bill slips new language into the existing informed consent requirement.
Although the description is specified in graphic detail ("[A] medical description of the ultrasound images, which shall include the dimensions of the embryo or fetus and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable") at least health care providers are not required to pry open their patient's eyes Clockwork Orange style. ("Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a woman to view the ultrasound images. Neither the physician nor the woman shall be subject to any penalty if she refuses to look at the presented ultrasound images.")
How nice of Doctor Dan. He only supports a medically unnecessary procedure, but stops short of requiring the patient to actually view the result. I'm frankly embarrased that a representative from Portsmouth is involved in this kind of intrusive bill. Whatever you think about abortion, decisions about health care should be the domain of doctors and patients, and the government has no place here.
This is the busy season for our legislature, and there are hundreds of bills in the hopper, but let's not let this one slide by unnoticed.
The sponsors of the legislation are Karen MacBeth, James McLaughlin, Arthur Corvese, Gregory Schadone and Reilly. Here are their e-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee (you can track any progress here) and here are the e-mails for the committee, starting with Chair Edith H. Ajello: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
You need to break up the addresses, because the state house spam filter won't let you send an e-mail to the entire committee at one time. How helpful is that?
You might also drop courtesy copies to Portsmouth's other Reps, depending where in town you live: Ray Gallison (69) email@example.com, Jay Edwards (70) firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dan Gordon (71) email@example.com.
Full disclosure: I am a supporter of Planned Parenthood. And I plan to make a donation to them, and to whoever is running against Dan Reilly.