Vote on Controversial Ultrasound Bill Delayed: Medical Community’s Concerns Must be Addressed

A debate on a controversial  state House of Representatives bill, which calls for a woman to receive an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, was cancelled by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) because of “concerns raised by the medical community, among others.”

Steve Miskin, a spokesman for Rep. Turzai said that the bill, “will not run unless or until a consensus is reached,” with doctors.

Physicians, including many Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) members, have been instrumental in delaying House consideration of the bill while physicians’ concerns are being addressed. 

“If enacted, House Bill 1077 would significantly jeopardize the open dialogue within the physician-patient relationship, which is the very foundation upon which modern medicine was built,” said Marilyn J. Heine, MD, president of (PAMED) in a letter to the House.

HB 1077, also known as the Women’s Right to Know Act, in addition to requiring women to receive the ultrasound to determine the gestational age, also would establish the patient’s right to view the ultrasound and observe or hear the fetal heartbeat during that ultrasound.

Contact your legislators and urge them to oppose this bill.

PAMED has no official position on abortion but is opposing this bill because it would set a dangerous precedent by legislating specific diagnostic protocols.

Numerous media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the Patriot-News, have referred to PAMED’s opposition to the bill.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren), and has recently lost several legislative sponsors.

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Comments: 42

A women has the right to know what is about to be done to her and the life within her. Lets come out of the dark ages and really be honest with our patients. I support this law.

anonymous at 3/18/2012 12:11:04 PM

It is abortion that is cruel and inhumane- Support the ultrasound law

anonymous at 3/18/2012 9:44:37 AM

it is my hope that all medical communities will strongly oppose legislatures trying to practice medicine. laws imposing restrictions on women's health care should be stopped. to harass women (by guilt) while they are making one of the hardest choices of their lives is cruel and inhumane. hb1077 should be called the right to oppress act....please continue to oppose this kind of legislation.. thank you

judy b at 3/17/2012 6:22:20 PM

it is my hope that all medical communities will strongly oppose legislatures trying to practice medicine. laws imposing restrictions on women's health care should be stopped. to harass women (by guilt) while they are making one of the hardest choices of their lives is cruel and inhumane. hb1077 should be called the right to oppress act....please continue to oppose this kind of legislation.. thank you

judy b at 3/17/2012 5:52:59 PM

Liz, an optional ultrasound would render the law toothless and meaningless. It must be mandatory for the law to have any meaningful efect in reducing the number of abortions in PA. The woman should pay for the ultrasounf although I suspect many pro-life crisis pregnancy centers will offer it for free.

anonymous at 3/17/2012 4:50:07 PM

Simply put, and ultrasound should not be made mandatory in order to have an abortion. If people want to make it optional,fine,mandatory-NO! And one question, who pays for it?Being that a legislation is being proppsed by many states for womans access to medical coverage be taken away, who pays for the Ultrasound?

Liz h. at 3/17/2012 11:21:17 AM

I don't think PAMED should take sides in the abortion debate. By organizing a campaign to influence legislators by setting up a mechanism in its website with a pre-printed message against the bill for members against the bill to have an easier time sending it to their legislators, PAMED has gone beyond expressing concerns with the bill to actually helping one side of the abortion debate and hurting the other side. If PAMED were truly neutral, there would also be available in is website a preprinted mesage arguing FOR the bill so members in fgavor of the bill could just as easily send their message. Many PAMED members, myself included, are pro-life and resent PAMED taking the pro-abortionside on this debate under the guise of "preserving the doctor-patient relationship". Since when is providing more rather than less information about just exactly what is in her womb to a patient contemplating a momentous decision that will forever change her life a bad thing for the doctor-patient relationship?

anonymous at 3/17/2012 9:38:24 AM

I have a possible solution to address pamed concerns: keep the ultrasound requirement in the bill, but have it done by a diferent doctor o r facility than the one planning to do the abortion. This way there is no interference in the doctor patient relationship. A list of available places wiling to do the ultrasound would be available for the women to choose, this list could include crisis pregnancy services that can perform the ultrasound. Essentially mandating this would be similar to an insurance company requiring a second opinion before approving a surgical procedure- that is something that is already an established and accepted precedent in the medical community.

anonymous at 3/17/2012 8:53:48 AM

This bill is totally unnecessary. This is another attempt by the Republican Party to take away rights of women. This must stop. Please do not allow this to become law. If one is so concerned about abortion let's put forth a little effort on the forefront. That is education and making contraception means free and accessible by everyone.

Eagle at 3/17/2012 6:53:57 AM

I vehemently oppose the Governor's choice to mandate this policy on women. With everything facing Americans these days one would think a Governor has more pressing issues to focus his time on. Mandating a medical procedure that is not necessary and not covered by insurance sounds like a violation of ones rights. Please wake this Governor up and vote this bill down. Tell Corbett that the inner city schools in Philadelphia are a terrible nightmare and if he wants to represent the people why not help them rather than scheme up ways to grow local governments and authorize them to intrude on your personal life. Tom Corbett has no business being Governor and he will be defeated in his re-election bid.

NORV at 3/17/2012 6:40:09 AM

Gov.Corbett's proposal is not unreasonable. I'll be interested in the final wording. I'd like to know why all the talk about abortion without the studies from the european countries showing a drop in abortion rates. Is it true about the correlation between abortion and cancer? Higher incidence...

anonymous at 3/17/2012 2:12:52 AM

Where are the reactions of the AMA, all national and state physician membership societies, and all licensed and practicing physicians regarding political laws mandating unnecessary "diagnostic" procedures and scripts with medical lies that physician must do? What would happen if physicians as a goup stated they will resist and not comply with such laws that infringe on proper medical care to their patients/clients?

Ken at 3/17/2012 1:52:32 AM

Aren't these the same people who said the President's health care bill would come between a patient and his doctor? That's exactly what this would do. Thank you for your opposition to it.

anonymous at 3/17/2012 1:27:13 AM

Thank you so much for opposing this condescending cruel law - and supporting the rights of women to control their own bodies.

Carol phd at 3/16/2012 11:38:05 PM

Support the bill. Simple education. Not all "women" seeking abortions are aware of all the science AND resources available. Before passing judgement on the "before 10 weeks" procedure, I would be curious how truly invasive it is compared with some of the sexual behavior that likely exists out there.

anonymous at 3/16/2012 10:51:56 PM

Curious outrage about govt intrusion into medicine and women's rights. Where is the outrage for govt support of Planned Parenthood, which promotes abortion in the name of women's' health. If you don't want the US bill, then also lobby against support of Planned Parenthood. Moreso, where is the concern about the complete govt control of men and women's bodies that would exist under national health care.

anonymous at 3/16/2012 9:27:41 PM

Thank you for speaking against this bill. Apparently the concerns of women are not enough to delay the bill. You are correct in being concerned about the relationship between the patient and the doctor. The doctor would also be forcing a proceedure on a patient which the patient has agreed to, except by coercion. This bill is derogatory and humiliating to women which is its purpose. I would certainly hope that the medical community would not agree to participate in that process. Thank you.

Gin at 3/16/2012 8:54:57 PM

Women need to be treated as human beings not a piece of meat on a procedure table. What a travesty. Please use your influence to get women their rights.

anonymous at 3/16/2012 8:49:05 PM

I want to add my voice in support of this, and all assaults on women's health, and on physician's rights to practice as they decide best. Our legislators shouldn't be practicing medicine without a license, and this is what they are doing. Keep up the good work in opposition to the "Women's Right To Know" bill.

Robin, LPN at 3/16/2012 8:40:05 PM

Why can't our elected officials do something productive like they were voted in office to do. Instead of legislating things that they have no business getting involved in. Vote them all out.

anonymous at 3/16/2012 8:30:39 PM

Regardless of one's position on abortion, this bill is counterproductive. There is no need for the legislature to interfere with the patient/physician relationship and this bill puts undo burdens on both patient and physician. Patients undergoing abortion already receive the level of informed consent that any patient undergoing surgery would. The added requirement of an ultrasound is as ridiculous as requiring that patients see CT images of their appendix prior to an appendectomy, particularly in cases where the abortion is being performed for fatal fetal anomalies or maternal ill health, i.e. situations in which there is no reasonable alternative to abortion. Additionally, in the case of abortions performed before 10 weeks gestation, the majority of abortions, the ultrasound must be transvaginal, meaning that women will be required to undergo an additional unnecessary invasive procedure with its own risks. This puts hospitals at an increased liability risk and will increase medical costs in the state, including increased medicaid costs. This law is bad for patients and physicians, is fiscally irresponsible, and violates basic human decency. Don't postpone it, drop it altogether. If you wish to make a case against abortion, do so in a way that is honest and does not cause unnecessary pain and suffering to pregnant women.

anonymous at 3/16/2012 8:43:54 AM

Abortion is a dirty business and abortionists are despicable human beings. PAMED should not be lending them the mantle of professional respectability by trying to shield them from the requirements of the ultrasound law. THis law is not going to burden the rest of us legitimate physicians with any mandated protocols for the care we provide. Abortion is used 99%+ of the time as birth control when a child is considered a burden or an inconvenience to someone's life plans. It is not legitimate "health care" except in extremely rare circumstances where there is no doubt that the mothe's life is in certain (as opposed to just potential or theoretical) danger.

anonymous at 3/16/2012 7:21:38 AM

This bill would seriously interfere with the patient-physician relationship. Please do not pass it.

Dr. Spencer Long at 3/15/2012 8:16:37 PM

please set the abortion issue aside. The broader issue is non physicians dictating medical care for non medical reasons (including but not limited to end of life decisions in presidential elections)

Bonnie Osterwald, MD, FACOG at 3/15/2012 7:10:33 PM

Why are we so afraid of truly informed consent?

anonymous at 3/15/2012 5:32:33 PM

From the Hippocratic oath: "First, do no harm..." The Women's Right to Know Bill is all about harm; no doctors or other health professionals should support it. Ultrasound technology should be a diagnostic tool, not a weapon used to intimidate and abuse those seeking a legal medical procedure.

Ed Griffin at 3/15/2012 2:12:23 PM

We don't understand why doctors all over the country aren't opposing all these laws against women! Where is the AMA? - donating to Republicans.

joseyj at 3/15/2012 1:54:31 PM

I find this bill along with the intrusion on my personal relationship with my docotor appalling!I believe that the government should NOT have a say in that rlationship.-- We already have too much interference in women's health issues.

Harriet Ellenberger at 3/11/2012 6:06:04 PM

There are 2 reasons I support the Women's Right to Know Bill. 1) Since aborted specimens are not sent woe pathological evaluation, the required ultrasound would protect women from the missed diagnosis of ectopic pregnancy &/or molar pregnancy. 2) Indeed as a believer in the Hippocratic Oath to protect all life, I believe the women observing a heartbeat may also help her to come to that realization that this unborn life is just that - a life as well.

Madonna Talbert MD at 3/3/2012 6:19:03 AM

I believe that if the Church deems it a right to enter the legislative arena it should also be a full participant in paying taxes

anonymous at 3/2/2012 8:55:32 AM

I am in favor of the legislation because if a woman is contemplating killing the child in her womb, then she should be FULLY aware that she is about to kill the child in her womb. No euphemisms or pretending "it's just a blob of cells" . People should be FULLY aware of what they are about to do so. Some women may even change their minds upon the realization that there is a real human being with a beating heart inside her.

anonymous at 3/1/2012 9:18:54 PM

This is about trust. Trust that women will make a good choice without being coerced. A woman who is not ready to have a child will not be a very good mother.

Amalia at 3/1/2012 1:26:06 PM

It's time to dial back the church and state's invasion of women's bodies, privacy, dignity and choice.

anonymous at 3/1/2012 10:50:31 AM

What purpose is their mandated procedure, other than to harass women seeking a legal medical procedure under the laws of this state and nation. Have they no compassion, have they no shame in furthering the anguish a woman is experiencing to further her sorrow in the need to terminate a pregnancy.

Dan and Susan at 2/29/2012 6:44:25 PM

I am truly ashamed of our so called leaders. What century are they living in! Women, in this day and age, are able to make some very big decisions without the help of anyone in the state or federal government. I remember what it was like prior to legalized abortion.... massive bleeding, infections and death. This bill is only to humiliate and shame a woman to change their decision. Well, women can still vote !!! We will be watching and taking names who vote for this.

anonymous at 2/28/2012 2:09:12 PM

It is exhausting, the amount of legislative time and energy spent trying to put up barriers between women and a legal medical procedure. There is no reason my tax dollars should be spent on interfering with my right, as an adult, to receive medical care. Why are we not focusing on the state of the economy? Why are we not focusing on education? Ah! Election year. Red herring. I understand now. Something to take our attention from the real issues to what should have ceased being an issue the moment women were deemed to be actual adult humans and not just pieces of property.

Michelle Weaver at 2/28/2012 11:52:17 AM

Is this what you conservatives call "Small Government"?

anonymous at 2/28/2012 11:48:06 AM

I am deeply troubled by the focus our political mouthpieces are taking on women, including the woman who sponsored Bill 1077. It's disheartening to see this caliber of "leaders" using their 15 minutes to exact control where it should not be and away from job creation, economy, education and support of infrastructure, which is why I thought they were there. I know so many bright, talented people. Are these people really the best we can do, or the only ones who want the job so they can control the poor, hardworking public while we pay for them to waste our money on laws to take our personal choices away? I guarantee they would not like us doing that to "them".

anonymous at 2/28/2012 10:29:28 AM

Where are the jobs they promised that's why they got elected in 2010 it seems the only job they want is to invade any females body and create a big government to police our physicians to see that they follow their legislation we know how to vote next time. Maybe if men all had vasectomy or prostate exams when they got their Viagra we would not feel so discriminated against. Welcome back to the 1950's I hope all the male legislators like sleeping on the couch or are to old to reproduce.

anonymous at 2/27/2012 9:40:33 PM

I am against this bill. That said, Dr. SK's comment about a child being born after declining the abortion because of a "normal" looking ultrasound - the patient is supposed to be informed of abnormalities. Below is a link to the HB 1077.;=2011&sessInd;=0&billBody;=H&billTyp;=B&billNbr;=1077&pn;=3047

ABCD at 2/24/2012 11:40:23 AM

NO STATE RAPE!!! Keep government out of our vaginas and our doctor's exam rooms!!!

Pam Konopka at 2/24/2012 10:50:44 AM

PAMED needs to ask the PA house where in the PA constitution authority is given to them to practice medicine. Just like singling out sending letters to patients about their mammogram results, but of no other test they undergo, this is another fascist intrusion by government. Actually this is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Woman comes in and wants an abortion, you make her look at the ultrasound, hear the fetal sounds, she thinks "I can't abort that perfectly normal looking baby". 7 months later has a kid with significant abnormalities, and tells the lawyer "I was given the impression that I was having a healthy baby".

Dr. SK at 2/17/2012 9:42:41 AM

Last Updated: 3/15/2012