by Steven Ertelt
March 8, 2007
Columbia, SC (LifeNews.com) — The South Carolina state House took up a bill Wednesday afternoon that would allow women considering an abortion to see an ultrasound of their baby beforehand. Ultrasounds have proven effective in helping to persuade women considering an abortion to keep their baby instead.
Rep. Greg Dellen, a Republican who is sponsoring the measure, told legislators that "It’s just providing a woman with more information" that would help them make better decisions.
The House had a short debate on the bill but didn’t take a vote because Democratic Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter scolded her colleagues for debating the bill and was able to get a vote postponed until March 20.
"An ultrasound is a medical procedure, not a political tool," she said, according to a Post and Courier news report. "You love them in the womb. … All you pro-life people, how about showing that love and commitment once they get here?"
Rep. Todd Rutherford, a Democrat, proposed an amendment to the bill that would exempt women who are victims of rape or incest from seeing the ultrasound.
During the committee consideration of the measure, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a co-sponsor of the bill, said that modern technology such as 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds have made it so it’s hard to deny the humanity of the unborn child.
Carla Harvey, a volunteer at Lowcountry Crisis Pregnancy Center in Charleston, spoke in favor of the bill as well. She discussed her experiences showing ultrasounds to pregnant women and seeing their impact.
"In ultrasounds, a baby at eight weeks will jump on the screen and suck their thumbs," the registered nurse said.
"A lot of times, a maternal bond is made when they can see that baby. I didn’t have that luxury," she said taking about an abortion she had at 18 that she regrets.
Pro-abortion groups oppose the bill but no one testified against it during the committee hearing.
State Sen. Kevin Bryant, a Republican, has sponsored a companion bill in the Senate, SB 84, that calls on abortion businesses to use an ultrasound to determine the gestational age of the unborn child and to review the ultrasound pictures with the mother.
“I’ve always been pro-life, so I thought, let’s do something that might reduce abortions since changing the law in the near future doesn’t look possible,” Sen. Bryant said previously.
He said he expected pro-abortion groups to oppose the bill by claiming it interferes with legalized abortion.
The legislation has been referred to the Medical Affairs Committee and Sen. Bryant says he has both Republicans and Democrats who have said they will support the legislation.
Statistics from Focus on the Family show that 84 percent of women decide against an abortion after seeing an ultrasound of their baby.
Kim Conroy, is the sanctity of life director for the pro-family group and says this service is needed and is benefiting women.
"Women deserve factual information regarding their pregnancy," she explained in a press statement provided to LifeNews.com.
"There are significant health risks with abortion, and at the very least they have a right to know the truth regarding this risky procedure from professionals who will not benefit financially from their decision. They also need to know there are positive alternatives for them and their babies," she added.
Her group has helped more than 200 pregnancy centers get ultrasound machines and estimates it has prevented over 6,300 abortions.