Letters to the Editor

Thursday letters: Ultrasound bill deserves a veto

Before abortion, facts | May 24, commentary

Ultrasound bill should be vetoed

As a physician, I must disagree with the comments of Cathy Ruse in her opinion piece of May 24. I am extremely concerned by the passage of HB 1143, which mandates ultrasounds before abortions. This bill interferes with the doctor/patient relationship. A medical decision should involve communication between the care provider and the patient, and hence is made in the best interest of the patient. With involvement of the state Legislature, this sanctity is broken. Would you prefer your medical decisions to be dictated by a legislator or by your physician?

Enforcing a potentially unnecessary procedure is an infraction of one's liberty — both the patient's and the physician's. The bill does not modify existing guidelines nor does it improve or ensure best health care practices. Leading medical organizations, such as the American Medical Association, strongly condemn any interference by the government that causes a physician to compromise his or her medical judgment.

There are few, if any, other instances where the government declares which procedures or treatments must be performed on a patient. There is a role for government in supporting programs or bills that protect the public at large from health risks, such as infection control. But HB 1143 does not do this. Society in no way benefits from mandating ultrasounds. I urge Gov. Charlie Crist to veto HB 1143 and put medical decisions back where they belong — in the hands of doctors.

Krista Toomre, M.D., Sarasota

Before abortion, facts | May 24, commentary

Feeble arguments

The author tries to argue a case for the passage of the "abortion ultrasound" bill sitting on Gov. Charlie Crist's desk. I cannot find one strong argument for the passage of a bill that would require women to pay for an ultrasound while the doctor describes the fetus, yet many that seem to contradict the writer's intended message.

First, author Cathy Ruse likens her experience getting a chest X-ray to diagnose pneumonia as no different from a women getting an ultrasound. I agree the tests produce fairly similar results without invasion. However, she elected to get an X-ray as a means for the doctor to make a diagnosis and she agreed to look at the X-ray. She wanted the doctor to describe anything he saw. It was not forced upon her by law.

Second, Ruse uses evidence from a study published in the European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care as support. According to the study in which 350 women participated, 72.6 percent of women chose to look at an ultrasound prior to having an abortion. How does this show us that we need legislation requiring women to do anything when 72 percent choose to do it of their own free will?

Where is the evidence that doctors refuse to show women ultrasounds when they request one? To me, that would be the only reason to change any law. The author says abortion clinics are "for-profit ventures." Aren't most businesses for profit? If clinic professionals refused to show ultrasounds for fear that they would lose money to women who change their minds, regulate the business — not the women.

If anyone has any solid arguments for the abortion bill, I would love to hear them. The article in Monday's Opinion section lacked anything resembling a solid stance.

Jacqueline Hinton, Valrico

Before abortion, facts | May 24, commentary

A better solution

According to Cathy Ruse, the purpose of the abortion/ultrasound bill before the governor is to prevent abortion providers from hiding ultrasounds they are already using from their patients. If that is the case, why not simply give the patient the right to see any ultrasounds that her physician is utilizing? No woman would be forced to purchase an ultrasound, no woman would be forced to look at an ultrasound, and the problem the bill supposedly addresses would be solved. Perhaps the governor could suggest that in a veto message to the Legislature.

Ed Bradley, Lithia

Before abortion, facts | May 24, commentary

Information omitted

Again, we have an article promoting a policy/law that would force women to pay for an unnecessary ultrasound or sonogram before having an abortion in the first trimester, and this is allegedly proposed to give women "facts."

Women have three options when considering their choices regarding a pregnancy. Where are the "facts" regarding their other two options? Carrying through a pregnancy/childbirth entails more risk than choosing to have a legal abortion in the first trimester. Choosing to give up a child for adoption is not an easy decision; as a former mental health therapist, I have seen the anguish women can carry with them for years after this choice.

The sonogram law obviously has nothing to do with giving women "facts." If it did, the information regarding their pregnancy would include accurate information regarding all their choices.

Linda Darin, president, Pinellas NOW, Seminole

Commencement survival | May 24, photo

Eckerd deserved better

I was appalled at the lack of coverage of Eckerd College's graduation ceremonies which took place Sunday. To have a photo on the back page of the "Local State and Business" section with 50 words of copy is embarrassing.

The college has been a very important part of St. Petersburg for nearly 50 years. The graduation speaker was, it seems, a man of some importance, Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, the group that I believe has some jurisdiction over our nine-year war in the Middle East.

I did note that the paper did manage to provide what I would call rather extensive coverage the University of Tampa's baseball team. I could go on, but what is the use. I am totally frustrated and embarrassed for the college.

The estimated 40 column inches of coverage including four photographs beginning on the front page of someone's party for himself certainly was of more importance than the future of the nearly 600 graduates who completed a rigorous and expensive course of study to prepare for their entrance into hopefully a responsible adult adventure. Yes, this is sarcastic, but I am at a loss for other comments.

Wilmer LaBrant, alumnus of the first graduating class in 1964, Largo

Just treat women equally | May 23, letter

Mistreating Palin

The letter writer (a female) begins her letter by stating that "the radical right thrives on cutting down and belittling women. The radical right wants women back in the kitchen, walking 10 paces behind the man."

First of all, I don't know anyone who wants women to stay in the kitchen or walking 10 paces behind the man. Second, much of the rest of her letter belittles Sarah Palin!

There are only two conclusions I can make. Either the letter writer is part of the radical right (since she does what she says the radical right does) or she believes that Sarah Palin is not a woman.

Her last two sentences really made me laugh. "Women do not ask for much. All we want is to be treated equally." I have a couple of questions for her. Did she feel that she treated Sarah Palin equally? Does she want Sarah Palin out of the political arena, back in the kitchen, and walking 10 paces behind her husband?

Ronald Melone, Clearwater

Palin on rights of women | May 18, commentary

Running down women

Sarah Palin spoke recently on women's rights at a fundraiser. I understand from Jonathan Capeheart's article of May 18 that it was a slam against women's rights groups. This comes from a woman, who because of her desire for the limelight, put her unmarried, pregnant teenage daughter in a precarious situation. Her daughter bore the unfortunate insults and jokes from the media, especially the comedians. Palin should remember that, until the 1940s, women were unable to control their fertility, and many died in childbirth from lack of medical assistance.

When you run down women's rights, you run down women. She was able to be elected governor of Alaska because of those rights. She was also able to quit her job as governor and seek more lucrative arrangements because of those rights.

Ruth J. Anderson, Homosassa

Thursday letters: Ultrasound bill deserves a veto

05/26/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 8:00pm]

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