Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Virginia Government Violates Doctor-Patient Relationship

There are laws that regulate the doctor-patient relationship that are helpful, like the legal requirement to report possible child abuse, but proposed Virginia law HB462 interferes with a doctor's ability to make the best medical decision for patients.  In addition, this law affects women only -- no man will ever undergo an ultrasound to determine pregnancy. 

The bill was passed by the Virginia Senate (21-19) and now goes to the House of Delegates for a vote.  According to the Virginia Pilot, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will sign the bill and said,
"I think women have a right to know all of the medical information before they make decisions." (Virginia Pilot article)
Obviously, Gov. McDonnell knows nothing about early pregnancy or ultrasounds.  According to Dr. Ralph Northam, a Virginia Senator, an abdominal, or non-invasive, ultrasound will not provide a clear picture of the fetus in early pregnancy.  Sen. Northam, a Democrat, views HB462 as an invasion of privacy.
"...the last thing our society needs is a bunch of nonmedical politicians mandating invasive medical procedures and telling doctors that their extensive medical training does not qualify them to do what is in the best interest of the individuals under their care. This isn't about whether you're pro-choice or opposed to abortion; it's about having less government in our lives and trusting women and their doctors to be the best protectors of life and health." (Link)
This legislation is not about denying women access to information about her pregnancy.  Women have the option of an ultrasound prior to having an abortion.  HB462 is about government encroaching on the doctor-patient relationship and demanding an expensive test that, in most cases, is not necessary.  According to the American Pregnancy Association, doctors are more likely to use hormone levels than an ultrasound to determine the age of the fetus.

By voting for HB462, Virginia legislators are forcing their personal, moral, and/or religious beliefs on citizens.  Virginia legislators are creating a slippery slope that could lead to other forms of interference between doctor and patient. 

Here are the Virginia State Senators who voted for and against the bill to regulate the doctor's ability to provide care for patients:

Voting for HB462:

Richard Black (R-13)
Harry Blevins (R-14)
Charles Carrico (R-40)
Charles Colgan (D-29)
Thomas Garrett (R-22)
Emmett Hanger (R-24)
Stephen Martin (R-11)
Ryan McDougle (R-4)
Jeffrey McWaters (R-8)
Stephen Newman (R-23)
Thomas Norment (R-3)
Mark Obenshain (R-26)
Phillip Puckett (D-38)
Bryce Reeves (R-17)
Frank Ruff (R-15)
Ralph Smith (R-19)
William Stanley (R-20)
Walter Stosch (R-12)
Richard Stuart (R-28)
Jill Vogel (R-27)
Frank Wagner (R-7)

Voting against HB462:
George Barker (D-39)
R. Creigh Deeds (D-25)
Adam Ebbin (D-30)
John Edwards (D-21)
Barbara Favola (D-31)
Mark Herring (D-33)
Janet Howell (D-32)
Mamie Locke (D-2)
L. Louise Lucas (D-18)
David Marsden (D-37)
Henry Marsh (D-16)
A. Donald McEachin (D-9)
John Miller (D-1)
Yvonne Miller (D-5)
Ralph Northam (D-6)
J. Chapman Petersen (D-34)
Linda Puller (D-36)
Richard Saslaw (D-35)
John Watkins (R-10)

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