Monday, March 23, 2009

Nebraska's Proposed Ultrasound Law: Caring, Constitutional and Plenty of Common Sense

Julie Schmit-Albin, the Executive Director of Nebraska Right to Life sent the following note to Nebraska's State Senators. It's one I think you'll appreciate reading too. And for the proactive among you (that should cover you all!), you might like to use a point or two from Julie's letter to spice up a brief letter to your own senator. How about it?

Dear Senators:

Perhaps you have seen the front page of today's Omaha World-Herald showing a photo of a pregnant woman receiving an ultrasound. I checked online and the photo accompanying the story entitled, "Job Losses Add to Lines at Clinic" does not show the same photo. I think this photo in the print version is very instructive. As you can see from the photo, the ultrasound screen is off to the right side of the woman's shoulder, swiveled in the direction of the woman. The baby is clearly visible on the screen and as it appears that the mother is pretty far along in her pregnancy, it looks like this is a 3-D or 4-D ultrasound which shows the developing baby very well.

LB 675 would provide that the abortion facility personnel swivel the ultrasound screen towards the mother, as in this photo. Having had numerous obstetrical ultrasounds I can assure you there is no way the technologist can conduct such an ultrasound and have the screen positioned front and center in front of the mother where the mother's abdomen and legs must be. The screen is always positioned off to the side of the patient's shoulder and head, either on the right or left; usually on the right. LB 675 would not force the mother to look at the ultrasound screen but it would be displayed towards her so she could choose to view or not view what is on the screen.

You can see from this photo in the OWH how easy it is (would be) for the abortion facility personnel to swivel the ultrasound screen just enough so that it is out of view of the mother. That is what we believe is occurring now, requiring the mother to have to ask to view her own ultrasound. LB 675 would remedy that and put the burden for full informed consent back on the abortion facility and allow the pregnant woman to decide whether or not she wants to view what is just off to her side.