In Support of HEA1337: Christina Francis, M.D.

March 23, 2016

A letter to Gov. Pence in support of HEA 1337, the dignity for the unborn bill, from Christina Francis, M.D.:

Dear Governor Pence, please sign House Bill 1337.

As a practicing OB/GYN in Fort Wayne, IN and as president-elect of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), a professional organization that represents nearly 3000 members and associates nationwide (including 36 here in Indiana), I strongly urge you to sign HEA 1337 into law.  As a member of AAPLOG and as a physician who deeply cares about her patients, I affirm the dignity of both of my patients – the pregnant mother AND her unborn child, regardless of race, gender or disability.  HEA 1337 protects particularly vulnerable people groups, such as minorities and those with disabilities, at a time when they are the most vulnerable.  This bill does not, as it has been suggested, interfere with the doctor/patient relationship.  Instead, it strengthens it by allowing us to provide compassionate, fully informed health care to both the family and their unborn child by affirming the fact that human beings, despite skin color, gender or disability, are worthy of dignity and respect.  None of the disabilities that are protected by this bill pose a significant health risk to the mother as she continues her pregnancy.

This bill also provides more support for families who have children with disabilities and even for those who have received an adverse prenatal diagnosis that is expected to significantly limit the life of their unborn child.  Studies have shown that families who are offered the option of perinatal hospice to help them through the process of losing their child with a lethal fetal anomaly report significantly better outcomes than those who are not given that option.

As a physician who supports the dignity of all human beings, and strives to protect this every day in my practice, I also support the provision of HEA 1337 for the dignified and humane disposal of fetal remains.  Unborn children that are lost through either miscarriage or abortion deserve to be treated as human beings, not as medical waste.

If we, as physicians, will respect the lives of not only our pregnant patients, but also of their unborn children, this will allow us to have open and honest conversations with both women and their families.  It will allow us to offer them the resources they need to understand their child’s diagnosis and what to expect throughout their pregnancy and after delivery.  This bill provides women an opportunity to have fully informed consent – not just biased information that her physician assumes she wants to hear.

I encourage you to sign HEA 1337 into law and provide protection for the most vulnerable people groups in our state.

With respect and thanks,

Christina Francis, MD

Christina Francis, aaplog

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#dignity1337

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