by Steven Ertelt
March 28, 2007
Columbia, SC (LifeNews.com) — A bill that would require abortion centers to show women considering an abortion an ultrasound beforehand got the backing of South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster during a state Senate hearing Wednesday. McMaster says he supports the bill and assured lawmakers that it’s constitutional.
He told a Senate committee that the state can’t require women to view the ultrasound but can require abortion businesses to give them the chance to see one.
"You can’t hold somebody’s eyelids open," he said, according to an AP report. "If she refuses, there’s nothing you can do."
McMaster also said his office will defend the law in court if the legislation faces a legal challenge by the abortion industry.
The five-member panel hearing testimony on the bill did not finish taking testimony and did not vote on the bill Wednesday. The hearing will continue at a later date.
The state House voted for the measure 91-23 last week and if the Senate approves it as well, Gov. Mark Sanford has said he would sign it into law.
"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.
Holly Gatling, the director of South Carolina Citizens for Life, told LifeNews.com that her group supports the bill as a way to help women and reduce abortions. She urged pro-life advocates to call their state senators and urge them "to support H3355 as it passed the House and without amendments."
She says this bill "strengthens a woman’s right to know the probable age and size of her unborn child before an abortion."