Rep Ellie Espling (R- New Gloucester) Introduces LD 924

Posted on May 4, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

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.

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Maine Physicians Testify in Opposition to Abortion Bills LDs 116, 924 and 1457

Posted on May 3, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Maine Womens’ Lobby email:

 

L.D. 924 – “An Act to Educate Women on the Medical Risks Associated with Abortion.”

This bill would require doctors to read a biased and coercive script to a patient … 24 hours before she could obtain an abortion.

Women making decisions about their health have a right to non-biased information and conversation – not manipulation.

And that’s just one of 4 bills – 4 very bad bills – aimed at putting politicians between you and your right to make your own decisions about when and whether to bear children.

C’mon. Trust women. Trust us to make decisions that are right for our lives.

We need your help right now to counter this attack on reproductive privacy.

Misleading women, especially those struggling with difficult decisions, is unconscionable. This bill isn’t about educating women. It’s about shaming women out of choosing an abortion.

It’s about providing incomplete and medically inaccurate information.

It’s not medicine – it’s politics. And politics shouldn’t come between you and your physician.

Give right here, right now.

And, that’s not all.

L.D. 1457 would repeal Maine’s successful adult involvement law and require signed, notarized consent from a minor’s parent before she can obtain an abortion.

L.D. 116 would require two in-person visits to an abortion provider; one to provide informed consent, and a second 24 hours later to have the procedure. These proposed waiting periods increase the medical, emotional, and financial cost of abortion.

And, L.D. 1463 proposes to create a new class of crime for harm to a fetus.

We trust Maine women to make their own health choices in consultation with their medical providers. And, Maine has a longstanding, bipartisan tradition of common sense laws protecting women’s health and safety.

 

 

================

The public hearings on LDs 116, 924 and 1457 will be held in Room 438 starting at 1pm TODAY. Those attending are urged to please wear PINK to show support.

Photos of the press conference here.

Video of Dr. Leitzer speaking at a press conference held at the Statehouse this morning.

Links here to video of Dr. Betsy Weiss of Bangor and retired OB/GYN Dr. Robert Walker of Blue Hill, presenting their statements opposing the three bills.

Testimony of Dr. Joan Leitzer, MD, Portland

Opposition to:

LD 116, “An Act To Require a 24-hour Waiting Period prior to an Abortion”
LD 924, “An Act To Educate Women on the Medical Risks With Abortion”
LD 1457, “An Act To Strengthen the Consent Laws for Abortions Performed on Minors and Incapacitated Persons”

Submitted to Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary

May 3, 2011

Good afternoon.

I am Dr. Joan Leitzer, a psychiatrist in Portland, and have practiced psychiatry for over twenty-five years. I am also the mother of two grown children. I am here to urge you to oppose all three anti-abortion bills. The proposal that I find the most objectionable, as a physician, is the proposal (LD 924) that would require that doctors read a government-approved script to any patient seeking an abortion.

As a physician, I have an obligation to provide scientifically and medically accurate information to my patients. I also have an ethical obligation to ensure informed consent by all of my patients prior to any treatment. The three tenets of informed consent for treatment are that:

  • The patient must have the capacity to give consent.
  • Consent must be truly voluntary.
  • A patient must be provided with adequate information to make decisions.LD 924 is counter to the concept of informed consent which requires that doctors ensure that patients are capable of making a decision, are making that decision on a voluntary basis free of coercion, and have accurate information to make that decision in an informed way.Indeed, LD 924 contradicts this principle of informed consent by introducing elements of bias and coercion into the process. Counceling is not reading a government-approves script to a patient. Counceling is definitely not reading inflammatory anti-abortion language to a patient in an attempt to coerce her or shame her into not having an abortion.I understand that 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. Some patients may feels sadness, guilt or regret, but other patients may experience a decrease of anxiety and/or relief.

    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.

    The misinformation, contained in brochures from the states after which Maine Right to Life has modeled this proposal, see,s designed to convince women that abortion is wrong. Promoting an anti-abortion viewpoint through a government-issued brochure contradicts doctors’ ethical obligations to our patients.

    Even if we disagree, we should never impose our personal religious or political views on a patient. But that’s exactly what this bill will do. I urge you to reject biased government-mandated scripting of what takes place in the doctor’s office. I have dedicated my life to counseling women and men through some of the most difficult circumstances of their lives. As a professional, I uphold my ethical obligation to ensure that all of my patients provide informed consent to any course of treatment.

    There is no need to single out abortion and treat it any differently that any other legal, medical procedure. I urge you- regardless of what you think about abortion- not to impose a particular set of religious or moral views on women seeking abortion. Please reject LD 924, as well as LD 116 and LD 1457.

    Thank you.

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