Roundup: Ultrasound Bills Across States Fare Different Fates


Let’s compare how some of the ultrasound bills being debated in state legislatures across the country are faring.

Next week the Louisiana Senate will be debating a bill that would require all women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound two hours before the procedure and hear a description about what it is depicting. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

Senate President Pro Tem Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge, said the bill is designed to make a woman “think twice about having an abortion. This is such a serious decision that a woman makes, the process should be exhausted with all the medical information on the procedure” available, she said.

Louisianan women will be pleased to know that while legally the ultrasound screen must be faced toward them they will be allowed to “avert their eyes.” However (legally) they can’t shut their ears to the required description of the screen.

the individual performing the ultrasound must “provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting,” such as location of the fetus in the uterus, its size, and the presence of external members and internal organs if present and viewable.”

The woman must also be given a sealed copy of the ultrasound result but there is no requirement that she must look at it. The provider must obtain a written certification from the woman that the ultrasound has been done before the abortion is performed.

By the way, any doctor that fails to follow this procedure can be charged with feticide.

Louisiana isn’t the other state that is advancing ultrasound bills that require women seeking abortions to also hear a lecture. Oklahoma is also advancing such legislation (along with two other abortion-related bills) which cleared the Senate Health and Human Services Committee yesterday. The Associated Press reports:

The ultrasound bill would require a doctor, at least one hour before performing an abortion, to conduct an ultrasound on the pregnant woman using a vaginal transducer if that method would display the fetus more clearly. Most disconcerting to abortion rights groups is a provision that requires the doctor to describe the size of the fetus, along with any viewable cardiac activity or presence of organs.

“Some of these provisions are by far the most extreme of their kind in the country,” said Stephanie Toti, an attorney for the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which successfully challenged both of the previous abortion bills. “The ultrasound is the only one that requires the doctor to describe the image to the patient, even if the patient objects.”

But Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, who supported the bill in committee, said the intent is to provide a woman with as much information as possible.

“This bill does nothing but provide more information to the mother,” Crain said. “It aids in the decision-making process.”

South Carolina was also considering a bill that would have required women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound one hour before the procedure but yesterday the Senate passed a compromise bill. The new bill changed the timeframe from one hour to 24 hours and also allows women to skirt the ultrasound altogether by printing information from Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Website 24 hours before the procedure. The Associated Press reports:

Women seeking an abortion in South Carolina would have to wait at least a day after getting an ultrasound or reviewing information on the procedure under a compromise approved Wednesday.

The measure passed by the Senate on a voice vote would increase the wait time from one hour to one day, but the compromise removed tying that 24-hour clock to a required ultrasound.

The compromise would also allow women to print the informational material from the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Web site, with the time stamped on it, to prove 24 hours had elapsed before an abortion. The Web site must include a link to places where women can get a free ultrasound, to include religiously affiliated pregnancy centers.

Meanwhile in the Kentucky Senate, their ultrasound-requirement bill got mucked up pretty good with unfriendly amendments.

March 26, 2010

Abortion bills pass Senate panel Tulsa World

A look at the president’s executive order on abortion and what it means The Pilot 

Study of gay men in the District finds 14% are HIV positive Washington Post

Planned Parenthood: Yes to Health Reform, Despite Abortion Restriction Public News Service

Would partners of gay troops get benefits, too? The Associated Press 

Pentagon restricts evidence that can be used against gays in military Washington Post

Sex virus blamed for rise in head and neck cancers Reuters

March 25, 2010

Stupak loses another key anti-abortion rights backer The Hill

Abortion referral puts spotlight on school-based health centers Seattle Times

McDonnell: No ‘rampant discrimination’ against gay employees Washington Post

Nebraska senators intend to revisit prenatal care issue Lincoln Journal Star

Burch moves to avoid abortion amendments Louisville Courier-Journal

Maryland GOP chief wants to block gay marriage opinion News Channel 8

Women seeking abortions must have ultrasound just before procedure, bill proposes NOLA.com

NARAL considers other primaries vs. incumbents The Hill

Teen contraception proposal discussed Irish Times

People not as concerned about contracting HIV Sudbury Star

Sexuality talks canceled for sake of ‘security’ Jakarta Post

Poll: Californians More Likely to Favor Gay Marriage than Oppose LAist

Legislators condemn threats to Democrats Abilene Reporter-News

Kan. lawmakers close on late-term abortion bill KOAM-TV

Sarah Palin keynoting anti-abortion fundraiser Politico

Strapped States Cut Back On HIV/AIDS Funds NPR

Pro-Life Lawmakers Shot At, Threatened For Opposing Pro-Abortion Health Bill LifeNews.com

NPR decides to stop saying “pro-life” and “pro-choice” St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On DNC Thank-You List, Stupak Noticeably Absent Newsweek (blog)

Funding contraception saves lives and money, leading experts report The Canadian Press

Double Trouble Brewing for Anti-Abortion Democrats?ABC News

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  • crowepps

    However (legally) they can’t shut their ears to the required description of the screen.

    Are deaf women going to be provided with interpreters so they can ‘qualify’ by hearing the required guilt trip?  Do they have to look at the interpreter?  This is another ‘women are too stupid to know what pregnant means’ law.

    location of the fetus in the uterus, its size, and the presence of external members and internal organs if present and viewable

    You just have to wonder if they’ve ever seen an ultrasound at the stage of pregnancy when the vast majority of abortions occur.  Smeary blobs and lumps that could be described as possible limb buds can only convince someone there’s a ‘baby’ present if they have a rosy romantic view of pregnancy.

     

    I wonder what the reaction would be if someone decided to promote a bill ”designed to make men think twice about buying alcohol.  This is such a serious decision that a man makes, with such a huge potential negative impact, that the process should be exhausted with all the medical and social information available”.  They could require liquor store clerks to read a little speech about alcoholism and domestic violence and how many crimes are committed when someone is drunk and then make them wait an hour to think it over before they were allowed to walk out with the beer.

  • crowepps

    On the air, we should use “abortion rights supporter(s)/advocate(s)” and “abortion rights opponent(s)” or derivations thereof (for example: “advocates of abortion rights”). It is acceptable to use the phrase “anti-abortion”, but do not use the term “pro-abortion rights”.

    Do the rest of you believe that this change will result in ”clear, consistent and neutral” language?

  • elyzabeth

    Sounds like none of the legislators are medical practitioners if they plan on over-whelming women with the “perfect human-ness” of the fetus.  Keep in mind that a developing fetus effectively re-enacts every stage of evolution over the course of its development.  At about a month, its more hagfish than human in terms of structure and organ development (notochord, pronephros, what-have-you). 

     

    Also, the ultra-sound measure sounds familar:

     

    http://www.theonion.com/video/new-law-requires-women-to-name-baby-paint-nursery,14393/