Ultrasound Bill (HF 1108 / SF 1168)
By Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund, Inc. | Feb. 21, 2019, 9:13 p.m.
Introduced by Sen. Michelle Benson (R–Ham Lake) and Rep. Julie Sandstede (D–Hibbing), HF 1108 / SF 1168 would require providers to offer patients the option of viewing an ultrasound prior to an abortion.
End of Session Update (June 2019): Did not become law
The ultrasound bill was included in the GOP-controlled Minnesota Senate’s larger package of health care bills. Fortunately, the DFL-controlled Minnesota House and Governor Walz both opposed the bill and made sure it did not become law.
Patients already have the right to view their ultrasound. That’s not what this bill is about. This bill is about legislating the conversation that takes place between a doctor and a patient–which sets a dangerous precedent.
Doctors, not politicians, should determine the health care needs of patients.
Leading health care organizations, such as the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Women’s Medical Association and the American Public Health Association oppose legislation that imposes specific requirements for medical procedures because these requirements interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.
“We oppose any legislation that would compromise the integrity of the patient-physician relationship and interfere in communication between a patient and their doctor. The practice of medicine is based upon research and carefully developed standards of care. SF 1168 does not meaningfully contribute to the delivery of quality care. The results of any testing (including ultrasounds) is already communicated to the patient in the most timely and appropriate manner.” – Statement from the leadership of the Minnesota Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
This type of interference in the patient-doctor relationship is more and more common as state legislatures around the country pass similar laws–a practice which, in an issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the nation’s major leading medical organizations denounced as “inappropriate legislative interference” and noted that lawmakers “increasingly intrude into the realm of medical practice, often to satisfy political agendas without regard to established, evidence-based guidelines for care.”
Despite opponents’ claims, this bill is NOT about patient’s right to know all the medical information before they make a decision. Patients already have that right. This bill is about shaming a person for their decision to end a pregnancy because it assumes they have not carefully thought about the decision. Patients deserve their physicians’ best medical judgment and counsel, not unnecessary requirements mandated by politicians.