The following was published in The Patriot News on Saturday March 3.
There is one area of Pennsylvania health care that allows doctors to routinely withhold some of the best information from their patients — information that women deserve — and we now have an opportunity to stop this from continuing.
A doctor just told my father-in-law he might have thyroid cancer. He went for a biopsy and now a specialist wants to run further tests to get a better look.
Every step of the way, the doctor is showing him the results of these tests. In the same way, if you tear your ACL or are planning to have your wisdom teeth out, the doctor will show you the X-ray and other information prior to performing any procedure.
Why? To let you know exactly what is happening and to best inform you of what the doctors are recommending. That way, people like my father-in-law can feel confident in making a decision — a choice — about a surgical procedure. It’s called informed consent. Unfortunately in Pennsylvania, women are often denied this right.
Abortion clinics should offer women the best information technology can provide about what is happening inside their womb and about the abortion procedure so she is fully informed when making her decision.
It’s with that right in mind that Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering the Women’s Right to Know Act (House Bill 1077). Ultrasound technology is an amazing advancement. It allows doctors to see the gestational age of the unborn baby, observe any health concerns and give insight into important information related to performing an abortion.
That is why abortion facilities nearly universally conduct ultrasounds already.
However, this information is rarely shown — or even offered — to the woman.
HB 1077 would provide every woman the opportunity to see their ultrasound, but it remains her choice. It’s an effort to ensure the opportunity for a woman to receive the best information available to help her in making this important, life-changing decision.
20 states in the U.S. have ultrasound laws in place. This is evidence of the resourcefulness that this technology provides — to doctors and to women seeking abortions.
Each woman is capable and should be empowered to make her own decisions.
Part of that empowerment is providing complete information.
With abortion clinic operators already performing ultrasounds for the benefit of the doctor, why not allow for that information to be provided for the benefit of the patient as well?
Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in Pennsylvania and nationwide, claims in its mission that it believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility. If Planned Parenthood truly means that, there’s no reason it should deny women the full information that they deserve, including the chance to view a routine ultrasound.
Without the passage of the Women’s Right to Know Act, many women across the state of Pennsylvania will continue to be denied the opportunity to base their health care decisions on full information.
A woman seeking an abortion would only be affected by this law in one way: the doctor would offer her the chance to view the ultrasound of her developing baby.
I certainly hope and pray my father-in-law doesn’t have cancer. But I also hope his doctor — and every doctor — makes it a standard of care to provide the best information possible.