Texas media lies about Texas “Sonogram Law”
by Beverly Nuckols on January 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM
The lies are neatly tied up in these two sentences:
"This past fall, doctors were required to start performing a transvaginal sonogram at least 24 hours ahead of an abortion, a shift they say has had frustrating consequences for clinics and patients."
"Now the physician performing the abortion — not an ultrasound technician, for example, or a secondary doctor — must conduct the sonogram on a separate day."
(I have a "Google News search" for articles on the Texas Sonogram law, so I get emails as soon as they’re published. These same lies are duplicated in other articles and op-eds, like this one in “The Jurist,” from a law professor at the Saint Louis School of Law.)
Editor-in-Chief, Evan Smith, and Ramshaw at the Texas Tribune must know they’re publishing emotional falsehoods. Even Judge Sam Sparks knew better.
Anyone who has read the text of HB 15 or Judge Sam Spark’s ruling would know that we’ve had a formal informed consent process and a 24 hour waiting period since 2003, that there is no mandate to use a “transvaginal sonogram,” and that “an agent of the physician who is also a sonographer certified by a national registry of medical sonographers” may perform the sonogram. The doctor is required to show the sonogram “images,” to make the heartbeat audible and to describe the development of the embryo or fetus. That the language did not require that the actual, real-time sonogram be conducted by ” the physician performing the abortion” was clear to Judge Sparks. As he said,
“The net result of these provisions is: (1) a physician is required to say things and take expressive actions with which the physician may not ideologically agree, and which the physician may feel are medically unnecessary; (2) the pregnant woman must not only passively receive this potentially unwanted speech and expression, but must also actively participate—in the best case by simply signing an election form, and in the worst case by disclosing in writing extremely personal, medically irrelevant facts; and (3) the entire experience must be memorialized in records that are,at best, semi-private.”
Still, Ramshaw revealed some truth:
". . . a scheduling struggle when doctors providing elective abortions are in short supply and rotate between clinics."
"They’ve had to set aside a whole other day doing ultrasounds, visits that in most parts of medicine would be dedicated to people with less training than a physician," Hagstrom Miller said. "The effect on their travel schedule, on their reimbursement, on patients’ access to them has been tremendous."
And it’s not all about money. The doctors who “rotate between clinics” usually fly in, sometimes from another state, for “procedure day.” The “Sonogram law” doesn’t force the woman having the abortion to look at her sonogram. But it does force the doctor to spend time counseling the women – possibly more time than the abortion itself will require. They will now have to look the women in the eye and describe the development of the child. How can a doctor “not ideologically agree” with the facts visible on the sonogram when describing the heart or limbs?