There is an epidemic of attempted overregulation of abortion afoot in the nation, with Ohio joining several other states and the U.S. House in pushing legislation that is designed to circumvent the constitutional right that a woman has to terminate a pregnancy.
These efforts are almost draped in spurious claims of concern for the health of women. But, interestingly, there is no correspondent medical procedure sought by a man that requires similar “protection.”
In the Ohio House the effort is being led by Ron Hood, a Republican who was first elected in the Mahoning Valley, but now lives in Ashville, representing the 78th District.
Hood is calling his bill the “Ultrasound Access Act,” and he says it would “give every Ohio mother the opportunity to see an ultrasound photo of her baby before making an abortion decision.”
But it doesn’t just give access, it would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound — perhaps even an invasive transvaginal ultrasound — whether her doctor believed the procedure was necessary or not. It would also extend the waiting period for an abortion from 24 hours to 48 hours and replace “medical necessity” as a reason to waive the waiting period with “medical emergency.”
LINK TO BREAST CANCER?
The legislation would require doctors to instruct patients on the fetal nervous system’s ability to detect pain, and tell women there is a link between having an abortion and developing breast cancer.
“The idea that a fetus feels pain or that abortions cause breast cancer, these are not evidence-based facts,” said Dr. Anita Somani, a physician at Comprehensive Women’s Care in Columbus. “These are not facts that are supported by any of our scientific literature. We as obstetricians cannot tell you when a fetus can feel pain, so how can this bill tell us that we should tell our patients that?”
The fact-checker PolitiFact gave Hood a “pants on fire” designation, its highest indicator of falsity, for the claim that having an abortion increases the likelihood of breast cancer.
PolitiFact cited the World Health Organization, which says that abortion does not increase the risk of breast cancer.
Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that abortion does not increase the risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society says: “Scientific research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer.”
The Susan. G. Komen Foundation says there is no link.
The National Cancer Institute gives its highest strength-of-evidence ratings to the statements that:
Induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk.
Recognized spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk.
Women who have had an induced abortion have the same risk of breast cancer as other women.
Women who have had a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) have the same risk of breast cancer as other women.
Cancers other than breast cancer also appear to be unrelated to a history of induced or spontaneous abortion.
Those facts notwithstanding, Hood, any other legislator or any other Ohioan is entitled to believe there’s a link between abortions and breast cancer. But using the power of the state to require doctors to tell patients that there is a link is beyond irresponsible, it is an abuse of power.
A POWERFUL IRONY
The irony is that conservatives such as Hood are the ones who complain most often about government interference in health issues. And it is conservatives who most often attack the social programs — such as food stamps, WIC and Medicaid — that poor parents, especially single mothers, need to feed and care for their children after they are born.
Hood says he drafted his bill based on talks with the National Pro-Life Alliance and that it is intended to make women more aware of what they are doing to “make an informed choice.”
Does any state require that a man undergoing a vasectomy wait 24 or 48 hours before having the procedure? Or require him to read literature or look at photographs designed to impress on him what he’ll be losing by no longer being able to father a child? Or warn him of potential physiological side effects of impotence? What Ohio law requires a physician to lecture a man “for his own good,” even to the extent of requiring a physician to impart bogus science as fact?
These laws are not designed to protect women. They are designed to make it difficult if not impossible for a woman to have an abortion. They are not about women’s health; they are about anti-abortion ideology, and if Hood and his ilk were honest they’d say so. Of course, they can’t, because the Supreme Court has spoken on a woman’s right to choose. All these “conservatives“ are trying to do is undercut the law of the land.