Debate on Mandatory Ultrasounds

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Presuming that women don’t know what’s best for them has long been a favored tactic of political reactionaries. Lately it’s manifested in, among many other things, new laws requiring that ultrasounds be performed prior to any abortion. Ten states already have such laws; in Pennsylvania, a proposed ultrasound law was shelved last year, but is expected to appear again.

The University of Pittsburgh’s William Pitt Debating Union wades into the fray by hosting a free public debate on the issue this Wednesday. The debate, featuring some folks with high-powered legal and medical resumes, is comprehensively titled “Should a Physician Be Mandated to Perform, Show, and Explain High-Resolution Ultrasound Images of the Patient’s Pregnancy to Each Woman Presenting for Abortion Care?”

Arguing for ultrasound laws will be a team of three including Teresa Stanton Collett, a law professor and special attorney general for Oklahoma and Texas, and former Pennsylvania State Rep. Jeff Coleman. Arguing against ultrasound laws will be three debaters including Nancy L. Stanwood, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and associate clinical professor of nursing at Yale Medical School, and state Rep. Matthew Bradford. Student debaters round out the teams.

The debate will include questions posed by a panel including locals specializing in medicine and family planning, plus philosophy students. Questions from the audience will also be included.

The debate’s from 7-8:30 p.m. in Pitt’s O’Hara Student Center Ballroom, 4024 O’Hara St., Oakland. If you can’t make it out, you can watch a delayed webstream beginning Thursday at mediasite.cidde.pitt.edu.

For more information, contact Gordon Mitchell at 412-624-1564 or gordonm@pitt.edu.

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