South Dakota State Senate, House Approve Similar Abortion-Ultrasound Bills

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 30, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota State Senate, House Approve Similar Abortion-Ultrasound Bills Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 30,

Pierre, SD ( — A South Dakota Senate committee rejected a bill that would have required abortion practitioners to offer women considering an abortion a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child. However, the full State Senate voted 21-13 for the measure on Tuesday and passed it on to the House for its consideration.

The State House also approved also cleared a companion ultrasound measure, HB 1193, on a 38-31 vote. Both bills head to the other chamber for debates and votes.

This is the second time lawmakers have introduced the measure to help women know more about their baby and hopefully persuade them to seek alternatives.

With advances in the technology, ultrasounds images show the humanity of the unborn child in a way that Planned Parenthood normally doesn’t explain.

Neither measure requires women to see the ultrasound, but gives them a chance to do so and allows them a written consent certifying the abortion practitioner made one available.

"When that woman sees that living child, we know, that as a result of that, she may very well not have an abortion," Rep. Roger Hunt, the prime sponsor of the House version, said during the debate, according to AP.

Opponents, including Rep. Deb Peters, said the bill represented another impediment to women getting abortions.

Kate Looby, state director of Planned Parenthood, also bashed the bill in an AP interview.

"These bills won’t prevent even one unintended pregnancy and won’t do anything to reduce the need for abortion," she said. "It’s another example of Roger Hunt and a small group of legislators fixated on intruding into the personal, private matters of South Dakotans rather than providing authentic solutions."

But Sen. Dennis Schmidt, the Senate bill sponsor, said he hopes it will persuade many women to reconsider an abortion decision.

"We’re just asking that doctors ask them, face to face, ‘Do you want to see it? Do you want to hear the heartbeat?’" he said. "The woman can say ‘yes or no.’ But if a person sees the sonogram and hears the heartbeat, they might not make the decision they were going to."

The measure requires abortion practitioners to note the date and time of the offer to view the ultrasound and women have a chance to say in writing that they don’t want to see it.

It would also require an annual report to the state health department on the number of times a woman was shown or declined to see the ultrasound and what percentage of women in each category ultimately had an abortion.

As reported last year, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee defeated a similar measure even though the state House approved the bill on a 43-24 vote.

However, lobbying from the State Medical Association resulted in the bill’s defeat on a 5-2 vote.

Related web sites:
South Dakota State Legislature –
South Dakota Right to Life –