by Steven Ertelt
February 6, 2007
Pierre, SD (LifeNews.com) — The South Dakota state House voted in favor of a bill that would require abortion facilities to show women considering an abortion an ultrasound of their unborn child beforehand. Lawmakers supported the measure on a 43-24 vote and it now heads to the state Senate.
The measure doesn’t mandate that women contemplating an abortion see an ultrasound but requires the abortion facility to allow them to do so. When used in crisis pregnancy centers, ultrasounds persuade most women to have their baby instead of an abortion.
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 HB 1296, the ultrasound measure.
"It clearly says that the abortion clinic must offer the opportunity to the woman to review the sonogram," Hunt said during the debate, according to an AP report. "It does not say demand."
Under the bill, women could sue the abortion practitioner if he doesn’t allow them to see an ultrasound of their baby before the abortion.
Some pro-abortion legislators tried to amend the bill to make it so women would not sign an informed consent form saying they were given the opportunity to view the ultrasound.
Rep. Clayton Halverson, a Democrat, argued the requirement was an "undue burden" but pro-life legislators said it protects women from being denied the ultrasound viewing.
Hunt previously said he hoped the bill will help to further reduce the more than 800 abortions done in South Dakota each year.
"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.