More US states consider mandating ultrasounds before abortions

USA 13 February 2009
Abortion foes have a new tactic: The hope that women can’t look away. Lawmakers in 11 states are considering bills that would offer or require ultrasounds before a woman gets an abortion. The most stringent are proposed laws in Nebraska, Indiana and Texas, which would require a doctor show the ultrasound image of the fetus to the woman, despite legal challenges to a similar measure in Oklahoma. A similar bill was proposed in Wyoming but it was defeated in a state House committee before reaching the floor. “Many times, these are young mothers who are in vulnerable situations. And they are about to make a very grave choice.” said Nebraska Sen. Tony Fulton of Lincoln, who introduced the ultrasound bill (LB675) there. “This is about informed consent.”

Sixteen states already have laws related to abortion ultrasounds, some requiring they be performed and others requiring a woman be told where she can get a free ultrasound. But Oklahoma’s law, which is being challenged in court, is the only one that requires the image to be presented to the woman, even if she refuses to look at it. It also requires the doctor to describe the picture. Indiana’s proposal requires the mother to listen to the fetal heartbeat.

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