Massachusetts Legislature Holds Hearing on Right to Know Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 24, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Legislature Holds Hearing on Right to Know Bill

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
October 24, 2003

Boston, MA ( — Public testimony before the Massachusetts House Judiciary Committee on a Right to Know Bill took place before a full house yesterday, with post-abortive women testifying about Planned Parenthood’s inadequate counseling methods.

If passed, the bill would require abortion practitioners to inform women of the vitality and development of the unborn child, including photographs. They would also need to inform women considering abortion of the risks, commonly associated physical, psychological, and emotional problems, and provide a list of abortion alternatives.

Planned Parenthood opposes the bill, which it views as unnecessary and "borders on harassment." A Planned Parenthood representative claimed that the abortion business already informs women about alternatives and "sends some home" who do not appear ready to make the decision.

"I think it’s insulting to women to force them to go through these steps," said Peter Langer of Planned Parenthood, "We don’t require this for any other medical procedure."

Former clients of Planned Parenthood attended in "scores," according to the State House News Service, to say otherwise.

Susanna Brennan testified that a Planned Parenthood counselor "coerced" her to have an abortion when they went to the organization for counseling in 1975. The decision led to depression and attempted suicide.

"[The counselor] convinced me it was the only thing I could do," Brennan said. "This woman was determined, and convinced us to abort our baby."

Massachusetts Right to Life Executive Director Marie Sturgis was "very pleased" with the turnout at the hearing."

"Post-abortive women are a gift to the pro-life movement," Sturgis told "We must continue to give them a voice."

Some lawmakers also disagree with Planned Parenthood’s statements.

"This isn’t a new precedent, nor are we looking at this procedure just because of its controversial nature any differently than some other procedures," Rep. Mark J. Carron (D-Uxbridge), a member of the Judicial Committee told the Boston Globe.

Rep. Carron said similar notification practices and delays are in place for cosmetic surgeries, caesarian sections, and some cancer treatments.

Rep. Karyn Polito (R-Shrewsbury), Reps. Kathleen Teahan (D-Whitman) and Colleen Garry (D-Dracut), the sponsors of the bill, said the measure stems from "the philosophy that women have the right to determine their own lives in an enlightened, educated and objective way."

"How can anybody be opposed to this?" asked Rep. Garry. "It’s about choice."

If the Joint Judiciary Committee favorably reports the legislation, it will be presented to the Legislature for consideration. Rep. Carron has told the Globe he believes the proposals will likely be approved by the committee.

There are 18 states that currently have Right to Know laws in effect.

Related web sites:
Massachusetts Citizens for Life –