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Del. Agencies Propose Greater Oversight of Abortion Clinics; Wyo. House Approves Ultrasound Bill

Del. Agencies Propose Greater Oversight of Abortion Clinics; Wyo. House Approves Ultrasound Bill

February 8, 2011 — Delaware officials on Friday sent a letter to state lawmakers calling for legislation that would permit their agencies' officials to define the parameters for unsafe or unsanitary conditions in medical offices where invasive procedures are performed and allow them to conduct unscheduled inspections of clinics, the Wilmington News Journal reports. If problems are discovered within a practice, the professional regulations division would develop a course for corrective action or discipline.

In the letter, Division of Public Health Director Karyl Rattay and Delaware Division of Professional Regulations Director James Collins cautioned lawmakers to be wary of unintended consequences, such as the singling out of medical offices where abortion procedures are performed or the creation of a "large bureaucracy." Several state officials and lawmakers -- including Gov. Jack Markell (D), Sen. Bethany Hall-Long (D) and Sen. Colin Bonini (R), who opposes abortion -- welcomed the letter's suggestions. Bonini praised the effort as "proactive" (Parra, Wilmington News Journal, 2/5).

Wyoming House Approves Revised Ultrasound Bill

The Wyoming House on Monday gave preliminary approval to a bill (HB 251) that would require health care providers in the state to inform a woman seeking an abortion that she could view an ultrasound image of her fetus before undergoing an abortion, the AP/Washington Examiner reports (AP/Washington Examiner, 2/7).

The measure is a revised version of a bill (HB 118) that the state House defeated on Jan. 25. Rep. Bob Brechtel (R), the sponsor of both bills, said the modified measure omits the requirement that providers inform women that fetuses past a certain age can feel pain.

Opponents of the revised bill "bristled at Brechtel's reintroduction" of the issue, according to the AP/Billings Gazette. Rene Hinkle, an obstetrician who testified against the new bill on behalf of the Wyoming Medical Society, said providers routinely perform ultrasound procedures on pregnant women and are required to ensure informed consent of patients in advance of all medical procedures. She added that those medical standards are "dictated by some other body, not this Legislature." The bill now proceeds to the full House for further consideration (AP/Billings Gazette, 2/4).