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Health Commissioner: Women Must Be Offered to View Ultrasound

0 comments | 1:35 am | top |
The Health Commissioner has recently made an important and historic decision that women considering an abortion when undergoing an ultra sound scan have a right to be offered the opportunity to view a scan of their baby in the womb...

...It is known from studies conducted in the United States that inviting women to view a scan results in many women after seeing their baby to decide against an abortion and choose life for her baby." - Right to Life Press Release 2/05/09

Background: In November 2008, Right to Life NZ contacted the various district health boards throughout New Zealand, asking them what their policy was on pregnant women being offered to see an ultrasound picture of their unborn baby. The Waikato DHB had the audacity to state that "to offer a woman an opportunity to view her scan would be an infringement of a patient’s rights." Following this, Right to Life contacted the Health Commissioner Ron Paterson, to alert him to the Waikato DHB's actions.

Late in April, the Health Commissioner advised Right to Life that he had acted upon the information they had provided, writing...

“I have carefully considered the issue you have raised. Clearly, a woman undergoing an ultrasound scan has the right to view her scan. As you have recognised, she also has the right to decide not to view the scan. In order to exercise this choice, a woman will know that she is able to view the scan. I have written to Waikato DHB reminding them of Right 6 of the Code, which states that consumers have the right to the information that a reasonable consumer, in that consumer’s circumstances, would expect to receive. In my view, this would generally include the information that the woman may view the scan should she wish.” - RTL

In New Zealand, the law states that women have the right to view the ultrasound scan of their unborn baby if they desire. However many sonographers have the screen facing away from the woman, and refrain from telling their client that they may view the screen if they wish. It is imperative for us to understand that the Health Commissioner is not saying that women must be shown the screen, rather that the women must be offered to view the screen if they wish. The recent action taken by the Health Commissioner is ground-breaking, as it means that the woman's right to be offered to view the ultrasound image of their unborn baby will be properly enforced.

The sonographer moves the transducer over the mother's abdomen

"Ultrasound is the use of sound waves to obtain an image or picture of various organs and tissues in the body. During Ultrasound, a transducer is used to transmit harmless, high frequency sound waves through your body. The transducer picks up the echoes of these waves and converts them into an image on a TV monitor." -

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