by Steven Ertelt
March 20, 2007
Atlanta, GA (LifeNews.com) — The Georgia state House has approved a bill that would allow women considering an abortion the chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child beforehand. The bill could result in a high reduction in the number of abortions since so many women who see ultrasounds decide to carry the baby to term.
The House signed off on HB 147 116-54 after a lengthy debate.
Rep. James Mills, a Republican who is the main sponsor of the bill, told his colleagues "If all of us — no matter where we’re at — if we hate to see an abortion take place no matter what, why not support a bill that gives a woman all the facts before she makes such a critical decision?"
The bill is an extension of the Woman’s Right to Know Act and will add an ultrasound component to the existing informed consent requirements.
Under the measure, abortion facilities must offer the mother the opportunity to view the fetal image and the fetal heartbeat at the conclusion of an ultrasound. The ultrasound itself isn’t mandated unless the woman says she wants to see one.
The bill would also require that the abortion facility give a list of health care providers, facilities and clinics that offer to perform ultrasounds free of charge.
The measure makes sure women can sign a form saying, in writing, that they were offered the opportunity to view the ultrasound.
Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson and his entire Republican leadership team supported the bill and Georgia Right to Life spokesman Josh Brahm told LifeNews.com that that helped the bill move through the House.
Brahm’s group has been lobbying for the bill and made it the top legislative priority this session.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where a similar proposal, SB 66, from Sen. Nancy Schaefer is currently pending in the Senate Rules Committee.
Used in pregnancy centers, ultrasounds have helped persuade most women to carry their pregnancy to term and Schaefer said she hoped her bill would do the same thing.
"Some women who see the image of their child do change their minds," she said.
The committee added an exception to the bill that would not make women who are victims of sexual abuse see the ultrasound of their baby but Schaefer said women in those circumstances may want to see the ultrasound anyway to know about their baby.