Friday, June 14, 2013 at 4:17 PM
As two controversial bills backed by abortion opponents make their way through the state budget process, there’s a new, free standing bill in the Ohio legislature that would put new limits on and enact new rules for abortions performed in the state. Backers say it would reduce the number of abortions in the Buckeye state. But opponents of the plan say it will hurt Ohio women and deny women their constitutional right to an abortion. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles has both sides of the story.
Republican State Representative Ron Hood doesn’t mince words when it comes to the goal he wants to accomplish.
HOOD: “The purpose of the bill is to try—to attempt to reduce the number of abortions in the state of Ohio.”
Hood’s bill would require doctors to perform ultrasounds on pregnant women before performing abortions.
HOOD: “The bill does not require any specific form of the ultrasound. The bill simply states that an ultrasound needs to be shown where the baby can be seen and that you clearly see that it is a baby and of course not just the claim that it is a clump of cells.”
The bill also mandates the ultrasound allow a woman to hear an audible heartbeat. And while the bill doesn’t specifically mention the type of ultrasound that must be performed, some doctors say those features can only be detected with a more invasive, more expensive transvaginal ultrasound as opposed to the type that is conducted outside a woman’s body.
Hood admist could make abortions more expensive and that expense would be passed on to the abortion provider and ultimately to the pregnant woman getting an abortion. That brings us to another part of the bill—the cost of the abortion. This measure would mandate that doctors tell women what they will earn from performing the procedure.
HOOD: “The abortion industry is a cash cow industry, and we believe this is very important that the mother knows this, that there is huge incentive for the abortionist, financially, to be able to perform the abortion. And we want to make sure the mother understands it.”
That’s not all Hood wants women to know when they seek an abortion. This bill requires doctors to describe, in writing to the patient medical risks including infection, infertility, hemorrhage and the increased risk of breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society takes issue with that last one, saying scientific evidence, at this time, does not support the notion that abortion raises the risk of breast cancer or any other type of cancer. Kellie Copeland with NARAL Ohio says this bill is not about making sure women are fully informed about abortion procedures. And she says it’s not about reducing the number of abortions.
COPELAND: “The majority of women who have abortion care already have children. They’ve been through this before. They’ve been pregnant before. And Ohio’s abortion providers provide excellent medical care and information to these women. This is about shaming women, this is about putting up barriers to make it impossible for them to access safe, legal medical care. You know, if they really wanted to reduce the number of abortions, they would work with us to reduce unintended pregnancies.”
Copeland says if this bill passes, the health and lives of Ohio women will be at risk.
COPELAND: “It’s going to set up a situation where doctors are afraid to act and do a procedure where a woman’s health is compromised. They are going to have to wait until she’s sick enough that she could die. And that’s a really scary situation for Ohio women because sometimes, as we know from a recent case in Ireland, you wait too long and it’s too late.”
The case in Ireland involved a 31 year old woman who died after having a miscarriage. A team of medical investigators found that by the time doctors determined the fetal heartbeat had stopped and had removed the fetus, the woman’s infection from a ruptured uterus have already reached lethal levels.
Copeland says this bill treats every woman and her pregnancy the same way but she cautions not every pregnant woman faces the same situation.
COPELAND: “It’s politicians playing doctor. They are prescribing invasive transvaginal ultrasounds, they are telling doctors that they have to blatantly lie to their patients, they are imposing longer waiting periods. You know if these guys want to be doctors, they should go to medical school, not run for office.”
The abortion bill is scheduled for a committee hearing in a few days.
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