The California Assembly has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would bar the purchase of ultrasound machines by private parties. While Tom Cruise is not specifically mentioned in the bill, and unfortunately will probably not be covered by the law if it passes (it's not retroactive), the bill was apparently introduced as a result of Cruise's purchase of an ultrasound machine so that he could watch his developing alien baby around the clock. Cruise bought the $200,000 machine last November, saying he would donate it to a hospital once the infant had emerged from its incubation pod. He would not reveal to people who cared whether the child was a boy or a girl. When Barbara Walters asked him "What do you see?", he replied "A little baby." A little baby Scientologist, he means.
Doctors objected to the purchase on the grounds that, while unlikely, tissue damage is possible from the kind of ultrasound overuse that might result from a nutbag celebrity's getting hold of one. No significant health risks have been attributed to ordinary non-unlicensed-celebrity use, and according to the FDA the only demonstrated effect from such use has been a slight increase in left-handedness among boys, which is already creepy enough for me. But some studies have shown that ultrasound can produce physical effects in tissue, especially when used for a prolonged period of time. The combined effect of ultrasound and the fixed and toothy gaze of a crazy film star has not yet been evaluated.
The California Legislature got involved because they have solved all of California's other problems and have been kicking around waiting for something to do.
The preface of the bill, which is unfortunately not called "Suri's Law," states that "as more advanced ultrasound technologies (including using higher ultrasound intensities) become available, fetal keepsake videos and portraits for souvenirs have become more popular. There are a number of facilities in California that offer a variety of keepsake ultrasounds, including movies and three-dimensional obstetrical images." Of course there are. But at least if the bill passes the Senate, no others will be in the gestation rooms of celebrity homes.