South Dakota House Committee Backs Abortion-Ultrasound Legislation

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 2, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota House Committee Backs Abortion-Ultrasound Legislation

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 2
, 2007

Pierre, SD ( — A bill won approval in a South Dakota state House committee that would require abortion facilities to show women considering an abortion an ultrasound of their unborn child beforehand. The House Health Committee backed HB 1296 on a 9-3 vote on Friday.

The measure doesn’t require women to view the ultrasound but requires allowing them to see it if they desire. It also allows her the opportunity to sign a written form saying she was given the chance.

Rep. Roger Hunt, a Republican who was one of the lead sponsors of the abortion ban in the state legislature last year, is the prime sponsor of the ultrasound measure.

He said he proposed it to help give women more information that may encourage them to choose abortion alternatives and carry the baby to term.

"When the pregnant woman sees the sonogram … she becomes more fully informed about the process, the fact that that unborn child is not a glob of tissue," he told the Associated Press.

"Anybody that’s performing abortions has to at least offer it," he added.

Hunt said the Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls, the only abortion business in the state, already does ultrasounds so the requirement shouldn’t be onerous. He said women should be given a chance to view them.

Dean Krogman, lobbyist for the State Medical Association, said his group opposed the bill because it would supposedly interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.

However, women going to an abortion facility have no prior relationship with the physician doing the abortions and there is no guarantee they will receive appropriate information about the development of their unborn child.

Jenna Haggar of South Dakota Right To Life, told AP her group backs the bill.

"The woman has absolutely no obligation to do anything different from she already does now," Haggar said, refuting objections to it.

State lawmakers are also working on another abortion ban after last year’s measure failed at the polls.

The previous prohibition would allow abortions only when necessary to save a mother’s life and the new ban would add rape and incest exceptions to that. Though voters defeated the abortion ban by a 56 to 44 percent margin, polls consistently showed that a ban that allowed abortions in the very rare cases of rape and incest would get voter approval.

Rep. Mary Glenski, a Sioux Falls Democrat, joined several other legislators at a press conference at the state capitol to announce the new bill earlier this month.