South Carolina Senate Approves Weakened Abortion-Ultrasound Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 17, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Carolina Senate Approves Weakened Abortion-Ultrasound Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 17
, 2007

Columbia, SC ( — The South Carolina state Senate approved a version of a bill on abortion and ultrasounds that is weaker than the legislation the state House approved in March. The Senate bill, backed with a voice vote, removed the requirement that the abortion practitioner review the ultrasound with the woman considering an abortion.

When the House approved its measure on a 91-23 vote, its bill included language saying the abortion practitioner must go over the ultrasound if the mother wants to see it.

State health regulations already require an ultrasound at 14 weeks into pregnancy but the Senate stripped the requirement for women with earlier pregnancies.

The change is upsetting to pro-life advocates and South Carolina Citizens for Life director Holly Gatling told in an email about her concerns.

"Unless the woman asks to see the ultrasound, the abortionist is not required to show it to her under the Senate bill," she said.

"Under the doctrine of informed consent, a physician has a duty to disclose diagnostic information to a patient before a surgical procedure." Gatling added. "The Senate bill diminishes the abortionist’s duty to disclose information and places the burden on a pregnant woman to request information."

The Senate language appears to have created a new 10-minute waiting period before an ultrasound – meaning the pregnant woman has 10 minutes to review written material about fetal development and alternatives to abortion before an ultrasound is performed.

The new 10-minute waiting period appears to be included in the one-hour waiting period already required by law before an abortion can occur and Gatling said her group is studying the implications of the new requirement.

Rep. Greg Delleney, a Republican who sponsored the House version of the bill, joined Gatling in saying he didn’t agree with the Senate changes.

"It is not what the House had in mind," he said, calling the Senate language "unacceptable."

But Sen. Mike Fair, the Republican who spearheaded the changes in the Senate, said they are designed to put more time between the ultrasound and the abortion to help a woman change her mind.

"The point is to have a period of reflection," he told AP. "This is as good as we could do, and we think it’s reasonable."

A conference committee could be appointed to resolve the difference in the two bills where one version would be adopted or the other.

Related web sites:
South Carolina Citizens for Life –