A Tennessee lawmaker is proposing a new bill that would ensure that pregnant women receive information about their unborn baby before making a decision about abortion.
State Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale, filed a bill this week requiring that women are offered the chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn baby and listen to the baby’s heartbeat before they have an abortion, The Tennessean reports.
“It’s her choice, just like it’s her choice to have the abortion,” Womick said. “That’s why I don’t think there will be any question of constitutionality.”
Womick introduced a similar bill in 2015 but it stalled amid concerns about its constitutionality, the report states. The previous bill would have required the abortion doctor to describe the image of the unborn baby on the ultrasound screen, even if the woman declined to see the image, according to the report. Womick said his new bill should not have any problems constitutionally.
Only recently have Tennessee lawmakers been able to introduce new measures to promote life and restrict abortion. In 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled 4-1 that the state constitution allows unlimited abortion. The ruling prohibited common-sense measures like informed consent, waiting periods, and legislation to prevent coerced abortion from passing through the Tennessee legislature.
However, on November 4, 2014, Tennessee voters approved Amendment 1, which returns authority for abortion regulation to the people of Tennessee and their state legislators.
Womik’s new bill is one such measure. The new bill states: “Except in the case of a medical emergency … the physician who is to perform the abortion on the pregnant woman, the referring physician, or a qualified person assisting the physician shall perform fetal ultrasound imaging and auscultation of fetal heart tone services on the patient undergoing the abortion.”
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Unsurprisingly, Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee opposes the measure. Jeff Teague, head of the abortion affiliate, called the bill a scare tactic.
“I think it’s just an attempt by politicians to frighten women who are often in emotional or stressful situations,” he told the newspaper.
Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities already perform ultrasounds before they do abortions to determine the age of the unborn baby. Womik’s bill is important because women frequently say the abortion center staff refused to show them any ultrasound information.
In December, LifeNews reported the story of Tegra Little’s abortion experience at Planned Parenthood. Tegra said she was not given any counseling. When she asked to see the ultrasound of her unborn child, an abortion center employee told Little, “It’s against our policy.”
Later, Little said of the experience, “I was deceived, delusional and out of my mind. I was in the lion’s den, and didn’t even know it.”
Ultrasound and other informed consent laws have been proven to reduce abortions. When women are given information about abortion that Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses don’t routinely provide, they frequently consider alternatives.