by Steven Ertelt
April 12, 2007
Columbia, SC (LifeNews.com) — In a Thursday vote, members of the South Carolina state Senate watered down a bill that would have required women considering an abortion to see an ultrasound of her unborn child beforehand. That would have been a first-of-its-kind law but the lawmakers changed it to give women the option of seeing one if they want to do so.
The bill would still require abortion practitioners to show an ultrasound to any women contemplating an abortion who asks to see it.
Sen. Linda Short, the only female senator, said the change would make it so women are not forced to view the ultrasound.
With the change, Short told AP she expects the bill to easily pass the Senate when it gets to the floor. The bill now heads to the Senate Medical Affairs Committee for a vote.
But, because the House approved the measure with the original stronger requirement, it would have to sign off on any Senate changes before the bill heads to Governor Mark Sanford, who has promised to sign it. The House approved the bill 91-23.
South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster has said the bill would be constitutional if it required the abortion practitioner to perform the ultrasound but didn’t require the woman to see it.
McMaster also said his office will defend the law in court if the legislation faces a legal challenge by the abortion industry.
The measure is coming under severe attack from pro-abortion groups who have spent tens of thousands of dollars on full-page newspaper ads all over South Carolina.
South Carolina Citizens for Life director Holly Gatling talked with LifeNews.com about the ads.
"The abortion industry’s militant opposition to the ultrasound bill is an indication the pro-aborts are terrified of any discussion of the humanity of the unborn child," she added. "When a pregnant woman chooses life, the abortionist loses money."
In saying he would sign the bill into law, Sanford said "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."
"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.