Josh Mercer at CatholicVote.com has this post about the new CT law banning the use of prenatal ultrasounds except for medical reasons and under the care of a licensed physician. The bill was touted as addressing the "keepsake ultrasound boutiques" that allow women to have high quality ultrasound imaging of their unborn child for early bonding, souvenirs, and other purposes. I read the text of the bill here, which was signed into law by Governor Rell two weeks ago. (Yes, I only heard about it after it was made law-- big surprise.)
Considering the apparent vagueness of the wording of the bill, I was concerned that this might affect the operations of crisis pregnancy centers in the state. I contacted the director of a local CareNet branch, who forwarded me this article from Lifenews.com:
by Steven Ertelt
June 30, 2009
Hartford, CT (LifeNews.com) -- Now that Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell has signed a bill into law that would ban ultrasounds not done for medical reasons, some pro-life advocates are concerned about the effect it will have on pregnancy centers, which rely on ultrasounds to help women consider abortion alternatives.
Kristin Hansen, the vice president for communications at Care Net, a national organization with more than 1,100 affiliated centers, says the bill doesn't adversely affect its affiliates.
Hansen says abortion advocates sometimes wrongly believe that pregnancy centers perform ultrasound for non-medical reasons.
"Care Net pregnancy centers follow all FDA guidelines related to ultrasounds and all ultrasounds are performed by trained medical professionals under the direction of a licensed physician," she told LifeNews.com late Monday.
Hansen added, "We are not concerned about the Connecticut bill having a negative impact on Care Net pregnancy centers."
Unlike the "ultrasound boutiques" the bill is targeting, Care Net pregnancy centers are required to only perform ultrasounds for a medical reason.
"We require this of our centers because we insist that they uphold the best medical practices," she explained. "Not only has the FDA said that entertainment or keepsake ultrasounds may be dangerous to the unborn child, but a number of medical professional associations have done the same."
Hansen says most pregnancy centers perform a “limited ultrasound” to confirm a viable pregnancy and determine gestational age.
There are three types of ultrasounds as defined by the professional groups that meet the medical requirements: Targeted (intended to find a fetal problem when there is reason to believe there is a problem); Basic (no reason to suspect a problem, but performed to find any problems) and Limited (to determine viability or search for specific information -- i.e. gestational age, etc).
Hansen says Care Net has greater issues with legislation in New Jersey and New Mexico "which would potentially prevent centers from purchasing ultrasound equipment and from using trained nurses to perform ultrasounds."
I was also in contact with Linda Cochrane, executive director of Hopeline, who informed me that their organization, which currently has 3 locations in CT (with a fourth soon opening in Bridgeport) that offer pregancy resources, including ultrasounds for pregnancy diagnosis and checkup, is connected with CareNet and operates under the same guidelines.
I said to Ms. Cochrane that my concern is that, even though this law doesn't affect CPC's in the state immediately, this may be the first step in an ongoing strategy. She shared that concern and said that we must continue to fight, though, she said, "we do our fighting on our knees, and with our voices."
As the Lifenews.com article pointed out, other states already make it difficult to purchase or operate ultrasound equipment. What's to say that the next step in CT isn't to change the state guidelines of proper medical use of ultrasound equipment, as in, only medical facilities that will offer or refer for abortion services can be considered as adequate facilities?
While we can still breathe for now in CT, I do share Josh Mercer's concern that CPC's performing ultrasounds constitutes a target that pro-abortion advocates will seek to limit however possible to continue to undermine the truth that the child in the womb is a child, living and breathing, and responding to its environment.
In the meantime, check out Josh's post and drop him a line congratulating him on the baby in the pictured ultrasound--it's his!
Please visit CareNet's and Hopeline's websites to learn more about their services and offer your assistance if you can!
A full list of CPC's in CT that offer a range of services and referrals for women in crisis pregnancy can be found here.