by Steven Ertelt
March 21, 2008
Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida State House committee has approved a bill that would allow women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn baby before having an abortion. Lawmakers and pro-life groups hope the measure will help further reduce the number of abortions in the state.
The bill requires abortion practitioners to do the ultrasound and give women an option to see it.
By a four vote margin, the House Healthcare Council approved House Bill 257 sponsored by State Representative Trey Traviesa.
"It’s important legislation, because we want fewer abortions," said Traviesa said. "Everyone agrees there needs to be fewer of them."
The measure garnered the support of all but one Republican and the opposition of all Democrats on the panel after Planned Parenthood mounted a focused media and lobbying effort to kill the legislation.
Adam Goldman, the vice president for legislative affairs of Florida Right to Life, tells LifeNews.com that FRTL board member Rebecca Porter appeared before the panel to talk about her own abortion and how she regretted it.
She came with hundreds of certified statements from mothers who had abortions and wish they had been giving information from the abortion centers such as an ultrasound of their baby. They said it likely would have prompted them to seek alternatives.
Goldman told LifeNews.com, "The bill requires an ultrasound examination to be performed at all stages of the pregnancy before an abortion is performed, unless the mother declines the right to view the images in writing."
He indicated the bill has just one more committee stop in the House and two in the Senate and said he believes the legislative leaders approve of the bill and will get it to Governor Charlie Crist for his signature.
Goldman is asking pro-life advocates in Florida to contact Senator Jeff Atwater, who chairs the Health Regulation Committee, to ask him to allow the Senate version (SB 2400 by Senator Daniel Webster) a hearing as soon as possible.
Florida law already requires ultrasounds for abortions done in the second or third trimester of pregnancy and the measure would require them for all abortions and give women a chance to view it.
This is the second time for the bill as the Florida House approved it last year but the Senate version got watered down and was eventually pulled.
Twelve states have put similar measures on the books and five other states are considering similar bills.
There are about 95,000 abortions annually in Florida according to the latest figures from the state health department from 2006.
ACTION: Contact your members of the Florida legislature and urge strong support for the Senate and House versions of the ultrasound bill.