Wednesday, December 2, 2015

House GOP postpones debate on ultrasound bill

Election year jitters or real desire for more feedback from medical experts on a controversial bill?

House GOP postpones debate on ultrasound bill


Election year jitters or real desire for input from medical experts on a controversial bill?

Republican House leaders have scrapped a planned vote on a bill that would require ultrasounds - possibly the invasive kind - be performed on women seeking abortions.

House Majority leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) said in an email to lawmakers that he canceled a scheduled March 12 floor debate because of "concerns raised by the medical community among others," according to news reports.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society opposes the bill, one of many similar bills blazing through state legislatures around the country.

Neither the House nor the Senate paused to consider the opinion of the American College of Obstetricans and Gynecologists when they pushed through their bill last year forcing clinics that perform abortions - all of them legal and in compliance - to undergo a physical plant overhaul.  

Abortion rights proponets contend is an attempt to shutter them, while bill supporters say it was a necessary response to conditions revealed at a Philadelphia abortion clinic of Kermit Gosnell, facing trial on seven counts of murder for killing a patient and six babies born alive.

The ob/gyn group, along with Planned Parenthood and the ACLU opposed the bill. The Catholic Conference and the Pennsylvania Family Institute supported it- the same groups fighting for the ultrasound bill that they promote on websites as "pro life."  

Leaders of the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania House are putting the brakes on a controversial abortion-rights measure.

House Bill 1077 - chillingly called "Women's Right to Know Act" - sponsored by Rep. Kathy Rapp, (R., Warren), would require anyone planning an abortion to have an ultrasound before that procedure - with a screen showing the image facing them.

The woman would be allowed, they say, to avert her eyes.

The goal, proponents say, is to compel women to reconsider their decision.

Oppenents call the bill worst assault on women's health and women's rights and a humilating form of government-sanctioned mental and physical anguish.

Similar bills have fueled controversy across the country including in Virginia where legislation to force women to be subject to a vaginal probe derailed.

Language in the Pennsylvania bill suggests that patients may have to endure such a probe. See the Inquirer's report here.


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About this blog

Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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