by Steven Ertelt
February 15, 2008
Pierre, SD (LifeNews.com) — A South Dakota House committee approved a bill on Friday that encourages women to consider alternatives to abortion by showing them information about their unborn children. Specifically, the bill requires abortion practitioners to show women an ultrasound of their baby and the hope is it will stop some abortions.
With advances in the technology, ultrasounds images show the humanity of the unborn child in a way that Planned Parenthood normally doesn’t explain.
The measure allows women a chance to sign a statement saying they were offered a chance to view the ultrasound and abortion practitioners would be held accountable for following the law.
Rep. Keri Weems, a Republican who is the main sponsor of the bill, told AP she hopes the bill will convince women to not have abortions, saying, "Let’s help women have fully informed decisions before they have abortions."
Linda Schauer of Concerned Women of America agreed, saying, "We believe it is every woman’s right to know she is carrying a living, developing human being."
During thehearing in House Health Committee hearing, which voted 7-5 in favor of the bill, abortion proponents promised to file a lawsuit against the bill if it becomes law.
The Senate has already passed the bill and the House has already approved HB 1193, its companion version which the Senate is now considering.
The State Senate voted 21-13 for the measure and the House backed its bill 38-31.
"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.
Although most abortions in the state are done at the lone abortion business Planned Parenthood runs in Sioux Falls, no one from the pro-abortion group testified during the committee hearing.
However, Kate Looby, state director of Planned Parenthood, also bashed the bill in a previous 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."
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 LifeNews.com 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. The group is opposing the bill again this year.