by Steven Ertelt
April 11, 2007
Atlanta, GA (LifeNews.com) — Abortion practitioners in Georgia would have to show a woman considering an abortion an ultrasound of her unborn baby if she wants to see one beforehand. That would be the state’s policy under a bill the Georgia Senate approved by a 36-17 margin on Wednesday.
During the debate, supporters of the bill said it would help women make a better decision than an abortion and critics said it was just another attempt to limit abortion access.
The state House previously approved the measure, HB 147, 116-54 after a lengthy debate.
Rep. James Mills, a Republican who is the main sponsor of the bill, told his colleagues during an earlier debate, "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 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.
Used in pregnancy centers, ultrasounds have helped persuade most women to carry their pregnancy to term and Sen. Nancy Schaefer, who sponsored the Senate version, 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.