Rep Ellie Espling (R- New Gloucester) Introduces LD 924
From Dirigo Blue, some quotes from Espling:
Often, as a new legislator, we are reminded to look carefully at the bills before us and not to rely on the title of a bill to explain its entire intent. This is definitely the case for LD924, as this bill is so much more than just informing women of risks associated with abortion. The purpose of this bill is to ensure that women are given as much information as possible in making a truly informed decision about abortion. This committee has dealt with these women’s health issues in the past and no doubt will in the future. People are passionate about this issue on both sides. My intent is to present this bill and go over its wording. The testimonies following will give you the reaons why this bill is important for the protection of women.
Most patients, unless in dire emergency situations have, as standard practice a wait time after diagnosis before treatment.
From a Q&A session between Espiling and Senator Phil Bartlett (D-Portland):
Bartlett: One of the categories is that scientifically accurate information about the fetus be required. Who will determine what is scientifically accurate and how detailed the information should be?
Espling: OK – it’s just scientifically accurate information that doesn’t spell out – in what form that information will be given to the patient. My understanding is that in a lot of abortion procedures they do perform an ultrasound because they need to date the fetus and so I don’t think there’s much discrepancy in the scientific accuracy of an ultrasound. So that would be part of the scientific….
Bartlett: So what you mean is, scientific accuracy about that particular fetus?
Espling: Yes. For that woman. For that patient. Yes.
Bartlett: So the question is how far do they have to go to provide an ultrasound…I’m just trying to understand how detailed do they have to go – do they have to know the height, the weight – I’m sure–
Espling: That’s really not spelled out here. The intent is that if the woman has a general idea, “I think I’m 6 weeks pregnant,” I think they should have a general idea of what 6 weeks pregnant means. And we certainly – through human anatomy and biology know how big that fetus is or what the fetus looks like at 6 weeks. So that would be the information.
A reminder: Dr Joan Leizer’s testimony clearly addresses the lack of medical veracity in the brochures from South Dakota and Texas upon which LD 924 and Espling use as fact:
the Maine Right to Life Committee states that this bill was, and I quote: “modeled after legislation which has been successfully brought forward in other states: Missouri, Texas, South Dakota and Georgia”.
However, the scripts developed by goverment officials in those states contain false, misleading and out-of-date information.
The brochures for Texas falsely assert that abortion causes breast cancer, despite the fact that the National Cancer Institute has definitively stated that there is no such link. Even more concerning to a mental health professional like me, both Texas and South Dakota falsely assert that abortion causes negative,and only negative, emotional responses.
That’s just not true.
The findings of Munk-Olsen et al from the Jan 27, 2011 New England Journal of Medicine demonstrate no support of the “hypothesis that there is an increased risk of mental disorders after a first trimester abortion”. This is a high quality observational study (cohort design) and offers strong evidence suggesting that first trimester abortion is NOT associated with psychiatric disorder. In other words, there is no statistical correlation between abortion and depression. But the states that have a script assert this and other falsehoods.
The Texas and South Dakota brochures claim that a woman may experience suicidal thoughts or so-called “postabortion traumatic stress syndrome”. This is a fictional diagnosis that is not recognized by either the American Psychological Association or the American Pediatric Association.
The South Dakota materials state that an “unborn child may feel physical pain”. The Texas materials assert that pain perception can occur as early as 12 weeks’ gestation, although “some experts have concluded that the unborn child is probably able to feel physical pain” at 20 weeks. The truth, according to a 2005 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is that the sensory systems necessary to feel pain develop between the 23rd and 30th week of gestation.