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An Alabama state House committee held a hearing Tuesday morning on a bill that would require abortion providers to disclose their annual income to patients, the portion of that income earned from performing abortions and how much they lose monetarily when a patient backs out of the procedure.
The so-called “conflict of interest disclaimer” is just one provision of the “Ultrasound Access Act” proposed by Republican state Rep. Kerry Rich earlier this month. The bill would also require abortion providers to tell patients, both orally and in writing 48 hours before the procedure, about the proposed abortion method, gestational characteristics of the fetus, “immediate and long-term physical and psychological risks” and abortion alternatives. Doctors found to have broken the law would face a fine of up to $1 million and/or a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Biased counseling and waiting period requirements meant to dissuade abortion patients from having the procedure aren’t new, and neither are mandatory ultrasound laws. But the “conflict of interest disclaimer” appears to be a new attempt to intimidate abortion providers and cast them more as profiteers rather than providers of a constitutionally-protected form of health care.
"It is absurd to target abortion providers by requiring that they disclose their salary and a breakdown of their personal finances to their patients; something no other healthcare provider in Alabama is required to do," Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said in a statement emailed The Huffington Post. "This is yet another example of how extreme politicians introduce unnecessary government interference into the doctor-patient relationship as part of a broader effort to end access to safe, legal abortion. ... The bottom line is this law is a demeaning intrusion on the personal, private relationship between women and their doctors.”
The bill is an illustration of how abortion is singled out from other outpatient medical services to stigmatize the procedure. State legislators aren’t calling for gastroenterologists to tell colonoscopy patients how much they make each year, for instance, or requiring ophthalmologists to disclose to their patients the proportion of their income derived from cataract surgeries.
(a) Any program or curriculum in the public schools in Alabama that includes sex education or the human reproductive process shall, as a minimum, include and emphasize the following:
(1) Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only completely effective protection against unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) when transmitted sexually.
(2) Abstinence from sexual intercourse outside of lawful marriage is the expected social standard for unmarried school-age persons.
(b) Course materials and instruction that relate to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should be age-appropriate.
(c) Course materials and instruction that relate to sexual education or sexually transmitted diseases should include all of the following elements:
(1) An emphasis on sexual abstinence as the only completely reliable method of avoiding unwanted teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
(2) An emphasis on the importance of self-control and ethical conduct pertaining to sexual behavior.
(3) Statistics based on the latest medical information that indicate the degree of reliability and unreliability of various forms of contraception, while also emphasizing the increase in protection against pregnancy and protection against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDS infection, which is afforded by the use of various contraceptive measures.
(4) Information concerning the laws relating to the financial responsibilities associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing.
(5) Information concerning the laws prohibiting sexual abuse, the need to report such abuse, and the legal options available to victims of sexual abuse.
(6) Information on how to cope with and rebuff unwanted physical and verbal sexual exploitation by other persons.
(7) Psychologically sound methods of resisting unwanted peer pressure.
(8) An emphasis, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.
(9) Comprehensive instruction in parenting skills and responsibilities, including the responsibility to pay child support by non-custodial parents, the penalties for non-payment of child support, and the legal and ethical responsibilities of child care and child rearing.
Ok. This is just f'ing stupid. Why is it necessary to disclose financial information to someone seeking a medical procedure?
How can we continue to pretend all the ridiculous hoops conservative states are requiring women to jump through to have an abortion are not specifically put into place to prevent abortions?
originally posted by: NthOther
a reply to: Krazysh0t
The bill is about the provider's financials, not the patient's. Personal financial information is not involved. There is no breach of privilege.
Oh I see. So since our current health care system is allegedly a socialist construct (it isn't, in almost any way), it's fine for it to be in a shambles as long as it A. "proves" your version of health care should be the correct one, and B. hinders women from getting abortions, which are legal but bother you ideologically. Check.
originally posted by: greencmp
a reply to: Krazysh0t
Why stop there?
As much as I hate intervention and dictatorial state interference, insurance paid or state subsidized, the cost of all healthcare procedures and prescriptions have been concealed from patients across the board.
Let's see what everything costs and who is paid what.
Obviously, I think it should all be completely private and competitive but, until then, maximum transparency is indicated.
I think it's a bit of a red herring but, you sound legitimately upset as if disclosing this information would discourage someone who wants to have an abortion. Why would it?
Unless there is the possibility of a conflict of interest being exposed, I don't see how this is anything but an annoying procedural mandate.