by Steven Ertelt
March 20, 2007
Columbia, SC (LifeNews.com) — Gov. Mark Sanford has endorsed a proposal in the South Carolina legislature 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.
"I believe life is sacred, and in the debate over when life begins I believe that as a society we should always err on the side of life," the governor said in a statement he sent to legislators on Monday.
"This new ultrasound requirement is an important one in that I think it has the potential to lessen the number of abortions carried out in South Carolina," Sanford added.
The state House held a short debate on the bill, H3355, earlier this month, 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 today.
During the debate 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. No proof of the crime would be required.
The amendment would also gut the entirety of the Woman’s Right to Know Act of 1996, a law that has reduced abortions significantly int he state by giving women considering an abortion information on its risks and alternatives.
Rep. Greg Delleney, a Republican like Sanford, is the sponsor of the measure and he says "It’s just providing a woman with more information" that would help them make better decisions.
The bill enjoys the support of pro-life groups and South Carolina Citizens for Life director Holly Gatling wrote lawmakers urging them to vote for it.
She says this bill "strengthens a woman’s right to know the probable age and size of her unborn child before an abortion."
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.