Ultrasound for abortion
Lawmakers impose cruel requirement
Before any medical or surgical procedure, careful informed consent is appropriate. Childbirth is first a medical and now frequently a surgical procedure, and the raising of children has a medical component as it involves psychological insights, patience and knowledge of human development.
The Florida Legislature has enacted a one-sided, ill-advised and downright cruel informed consent provision prior to pregnancy termination. It's one-sided in that there is no law requiring anyone to have informed consent to continue a pregnancy and raise a child even though by just reading the paper one can conclude that there is a desperate need for such informed consent: children abandoned by their mother, murdered by their mother, grandmothers going to jail for slapping an unruly foul-mouthed teenager, children dying from childhood cancers, from drive-by shootings.
Many believe that those who choose pregnancy termination do so frivolously. There are a few who do, and they will be unmoved by an ultrasound explanation of the development of their fetus. But the preponderance of those who seek pregnancy termination are faced with a wrenching decision, and the requirement of the psychological and financial impact of an ultrasound — whether the termination is for a severe or fatal fetal cause or for a decision by the pregnant woman that having a child at this time is not tenable for her — is frankly cruel.
Can we not consider the fact that a woman's decision that now is not the time to continue an unplanned pregnancy is a manifestation of a psychologically unhealthy woman and continuation of the pregnancy may result in an unhealthy pregnancy and the potential of an unhealthy childhood?
Samuel G. Smith, M.D., Sun City Center
The story behind his abortion speech May 4, story
Ultrasounds provide lifesaving images
Kudos to Rep. Scott Randolph for having the courage to reveal his family's personal and painful loss of an unborn, and the unfortunate emotional toll that was brought on by witnessing the baby' suffering from the ultrasound. As a parent of a nine-month-old now, and an expectant father as well, I can only imagine the devastation of a parent having to face the loss of a child. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family, and all those who have had to bear this tragedy.
However, his passionate testimony against the recent House bill requiring ultrasounds for women seeking abortions only helps to understand why this bill is so necessary. Rep. Randolph's experiences are a true testimony that he understands perhaps better than most the importance and precious value of life. He painstakingly explained how the ultrasound not only revealed the pregnancy's complications, but alludes to the baby's own suffering in utero. Imagine the suffering that a baby experiences from such a procedure as late as the mother's third trimester when abortions can still be legally performed.
How many innocent lives might be saved if expectant parents with no perceived complications could witness the development of their child from the powerful images produced by ultrasounds?
Nick Suszynski, Tampa
Invasion of privacy
The state Legislature passed a bill that authorizes the attorney general to challenge the federal health care reform law. Republicans claim that the provision in the federal health care law requiring individuals to purchase health insurance is an unprecedented affront and intrusion into the lives of Floridians.
Yet the same Republicans who see health care reform as an unconstitutional intrusion have no problem mandating to physicians that they must perform an ultrasound on their patients seeking an abortion, even when the physician finds no need for such a procedure. The physician is further required to discuss the ultrasound with the patient.
While most legal scholars believe that the federal health insurance reform mandate is constitutional under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which gives the federal government broad authority to regulate interstate commerce, it is hard to imagine how the abortion bill can withstand constitutional challenges.
The Florida Constitution, unlike the U.S. Constitution, has a specific reference to a right of privacy. The right of privacy is of particular significance when it involves a person's medical care. The thought of the state intervening in the personal and private discussions between a woman and her obstetrician/gynecologist should be offensive to every Floridian.
Jeff Grabel, Brandon
Anger, tears fill abortion debate May 1, story
Some time ago I volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center where the client was allowed to view for free the film of an unborn baby in the womb. Granted, this wasn't her baby but she was able to see the life within the womb. The mom-to-be left the facility with a better understanding of pregnancy.
I offer this as an alternative to requiring a pregnant woman to pay a large sum of money for an ultrasound. For many, $100 is a small fortune and not easy to acquire. Please don't increase the burden some must bear.
Glenda Pittman, St. Petersburg
Prepared to pay?
I have a question for those who oppose abortion and support HB 1143: How much more in taxes are you willing to pay toward the care and upbringing of all those poor, unwanted children?
Loretta White, Hernando
Family fight sends grandmother to jail May 1, story
A ridiculous result
I could not believe what I read in this article. A 73-year-old grandmother slaps an 18-year-old granddaughter for cursing at her and the grandmother goes to jail? If this had happened in my house, the 18-year-old would have had more than a slap! And for the Largo police to call for a van and take her away in handcuffs and chains is just ridiculous!
The granddaughter should have been charged with wrong use of the 911 system as soon as the police heard the story. This is what happens when present-day laws make it so families cannot discipline their children. And they wonder why there is so much wrong in the world today. Our tax dollars at work.
Barbara Johnson, Hudson
Family fight sends grandmother to jail May 1, story
Going too far
I think that the police visit to the home of Theresa Collier, responding to the phone call from her granddaughter, could have been settled differently. As staff writer Dominick Tao wrote, as disputes go, "it was not all that extraordinary."
In a case like this perhaps the officers might have counseled both parties, elicited apologies, and gone home. Certainly the dispute did not warrant anyone going to jail.
Speaking as a grandmother myself, I can't predict how I would react to a verbal assault such as Theresa Collier was subjected to, but I can say that if my granddaughter cursed me in that manner, it would hurt me more than a slap on the cheek.
Kathy Annand, Largo
Jailing grandma strikes a nerve May 4, story
Violence begets violence
On the little-publicized (by the St. Petersburg Times and other major national media outlets) 40th anniversary of the murders of four innocent students at Kent State University, we have a 73-year-old trying to justify the use of violence against an 18-year-old, for the alleged offense of vulgar language.
Haven't we learned in the passing years that violence only begets more violence? Just take a look at the unending cycle of violence in the Middle East!
It is frequently quoted that "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it," and in all my years on this planet, I find nothing here to disprove this axiom.
J. R. Sedley, Gulfport