To the Editor:
Robert Cox’s letter to the editor [Laws That Violate Woman’s Right, April 11, 2012] states that Delegate Comstock voted for a law that would "take away a woman’s right to choose her own health care and instead force the Government to make health decisions for that woman." I am not sure to what legislation he was referring, but if it was the Senate Amendment that updated Virginia’s 2001 Informed Consent Law, the facts would not appear to support his opinions.
The Senate amendment updating this existing law simply referred to a sonogram consistent with the "standard of care." Some tried to equate this to state-mandated rape. To research this I communicated directly with a Planned Parenthood representative who informed me that a pre-abortion sonogram is the standard of care. A sonogram is necessary to determine the fetal age in order to know which abortion procedure can be used safely (pill or surgery) and whether it can be done in a clinic vs. a hospital. Because a woman does not always know the date of her pregnancy, legal liability dictates this requirement. Lawsuits have ensued when mistakes were made regarding the fetal age. The amendment therefore did not require anything that was not already the standard of care for an abortion other than to require that a doctor ask the woman if she would like to see the sonogram or hear the baby’s heartbeat. The woman is free to decline the offer.
Mr. Cox criticized my previous letter for being more of a news report than an "opinion." While I respectfully disagree, I admit that I try to inform my opinions with facts. I also agree that the media should report Comstock’s work as news. It was my opinion expressed in my previous letter that the media reporting on the work of the General Assembly has been unbalanced and overly focused on this one law to the exclusion of the other 1600 bills that were passed, including Comstock's. That remains my opinion.