Bill Seeks To Bar Sale of Ultrasound Machines
The Assembly on Thursday will hear a bill (AB 2360) that would ban the sale, lease or distribution of ultrasound machines to anyone other than a licensed medical professional, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports.
Assembly member Ted Lieu (D-El Segundo) introduced the bill after actor Tom Cruise announced that he purchased an ultrasound machine to view his fetus. Lieu, who consulted medical professionals before writing the bill, said he is concerned that others would purchase the machines for personal use, which could harm a fetus.
According to Miyuki Murphy, director of ultrasound at Radiological Associates of Sacramento, some settings on an ultrasound machine -- such as a high-frequency setting used to see an adult's kidneys, pelvis, uterus and other organs -- should not be used on fetuses. Murphy said some people might use these settings on fetuses because the higher settings produce better pictures.
FDA officials said no studies have examined the effects of prolonged ultrasound use on fetuses. However, according to a statement on the agency's Web site, "exposing the fetus to ultrasound with no anticipation of medical benefit is not justified."
Critics of the legislation said such decisions should be made by health professionals and not lawmakers (Young, AP/Contra Costa Times, 5/4).