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Ohio lawmakers propose 48-hour waiting period for abortions

TNS Regional News • Jun 14, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Ohio Republicans are considering a bill that would usher in new restrictions for women seeking an abortion, including requirements that they wait at least 48 hours and receive an ultrasound before having the procedure.

House Bill 200, which has 34 co-sponsors including eight Republican men from the Miami Valley, would require abortion providers to describe to the pregnant woman the anatomical features of the fetus or embryo and its ability to feel pain.

The Miami Valley representatives who are co-sponsors of the bill are John Adams, Peter Beck, Terry Blair, Jim Buchy, Jim Butler, Mike Henne, Ron Maag and Wes Retherford.

Doctors would also be required to describe to the patient in writing the medical risks of an abortion, including infection, infertility, hemorrhage and “the increased risk of breast cancer.”

According to the American Cancer Society web page: “At this time, the scientific evidence does not support the notion that abortion of any kind raises the risk of breast cancer or any other type of cancer.”

Violators of the provisions could face first degree felony charges and $1 million fine.

Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis, who said his organization is not behind the legislation, called it an attempt to inform pregnant women.

“This isn’t a direct attempt to over turn Roe versus Wade; this is an attempt to get women more information,” he said.

When asked about the requirement to tell women that abortion is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer — a notion widely pushed by abortion foes but debunked — Gonidakis said he isn’t a doctor and cannot speak to the medical accuracy of that link. Gonidakis is on the Ohio State Medical Board.

Kellie Copeland of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio denounced the bill as attempt to further curtail access to abortions.

“Politicians are playing doctor,” Copeland said. “They’re making doctors blatantly lie to their patients, mandating invasive transvaginal ultrasounds and imposing longer waiting periods and bureaucratic hoops for women and doctors to go through simply to access a safe, legal medical procedure.”

The bill also calls for:

* Mandatory ultrasounds that show the entire body of an embryo or fetus and verbal descriptions of the fetal features, including the presence of an audible heartbeat. Ultrasounds can be conducted transabdominal or transvaginal, which is more invasive.

* Allow patients to refuse to listen to the fetal heart monitor or look at ultrasound images.

* Require clinics to provide a free sonogram image upon request.

* Replace the current 24 hour waiting period with a 48 hour waiting period and restrict waivers to medical emergencies in which the woman faces death without an immediate abortion.

* Define a viable pregnancy as one with a fetal sac in the uterus and a heartbeat.

* Inform women whether their pregnancy is viable and if it’s not, tell them they will miscarry and that no further medical intervention is necessary, unless the doctor has evidence to the contrary.

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By Laura A. Bischoff - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at www.daytondailynews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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