Last week, State Senator Bryant Richardson reintroduced two pieces of legislation dealing with abortion. The “Pain Culpable Unborn Child Act” which would protect the lives of the unborn starting well into the second trimester when the unborn can feel pain, and the Woman’s Ultrasound Right to Know Act” which gives women information about the development of the child they are carrying, in order to allow for an informed decision. Neither bill would forbid all abortion. Planned Parenthood has come out in opposition of both measures saying that these abortion restrictions are written by politicians – not doctors – and are not based in science but meant to shame women and that restricting access to legal medical procedures should have no place in the First State.
Statement from Planned Parenthood:
The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Delaware firmly opposes “The Pain Capable Unborn Child Act” (HB52/SB21) and “The Woman’s Ultrasound Right to Know Act” (HB53/SB19)
“Abortion restrictions that are written by politicians, not doctors, that are not based in science and are instead about shaming women and restricting access to safe, legal medical procedures should have no place in Delaware,” said President and CEO Ruth Lytle-Barnaby.
At Planned Parenthood we know how important it is for women to have accurate information about all of their options and to have full support in making their decisions. Restrictions such as pre-viability bans and bills that require Ultrasounds and fetal heart tone auscultations be offered to patients interfere with the patient-doctor relationship, and are ultimately intended to shame and intimidate women.
“At Planned Parenthood, our top priority is making sure that every woman, no matter where she lives, can make her own personal, private health care decisions without politicians standing in the way. These bills pose a serious threat to women’s health, ignoring women’s individual needs and circumstances.” Says Dr. Martha Simmons, Medical Director Planned Parenthood of Delaware.
Bans that put a distinct timeline on viability, such as HB52/SB21, are not rooted in science and have been opposed by medical experts such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Physicians for Reproductive Health. The claims made in HB52/SB21 have been debunked by medical experts time and time again.
Banning abortion at any point pre-viability threatens women’s health and safety. Every pregnancy is unique, some women’s lives can be put at risk by forcing them to continue a pregnancy. It is important that every person be able to make their own decisions about their health care options in consultation with their medical provider – and not politicians.
HB53/SB19 also interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. Securing informed consent is a fundamental aspect of medical ethics and is already required for all medical procedures in Delaware, including abortion. Forcing patients to also consent to hearing fetal heart tones, and knowing the dimensions of the fetus is an unnecessary added barrier that does nothing to protect women’s health.
While claiming to provide women with more information, HB53/SB19 ultimately seeks to dissuade them from exercising their legal and constitutional right to abortion. When the State mandates actions or speech by physicians only in the context of abortion, as HB53/SB19 proposes, it is not about protecting women or increasing the information they are provided. Rather it is about intimidating and shaming people for choosing abortion and questioning a woman’s ability to make the decision that is best for them.