Florida Senate Committee Approves Abortion-Ultrasound Legislation to Help Women

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

Florida Senate Committee Approves Abortion-Ultrasound Legislation to Help Women Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 9
, 2008

Tallahasee, FL (LifeNews.com) — A Florida Senate subcommittee has given its okay to a bill that would allow women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn baby before having an abortion. The measure is the latest push by pro-life advocates in state legislatures to help give women information that would prompt them to keep their baby.

The Senate Health Regulation Committee passed the bill, SB 2400, on a 4-3 vote and it now has one more committee vote before it goes to the full Senate for a debate.

The measure allows women, no matter what age the baby is at the time they consider the abortion, to see an ultrasound showing the baby’s development.

Pro-life groups say the bill gives women more information they don’t normally get from an abortion center and point to its use in pregnancy centers and its ability to persuade about 80 percent of women to opt against an abortion.

Under the bill women are not required to see the ultrasound but are given an option to do so and allowed to sign a consent form indicating the abortion center gave them the chance to see it.

The Senate committee-approved bill is similar to a House measure, HB 257, the lower chamber already approved, but it has significant differences.

The House measure includes a section dealing with teens considering abortions and it requires them to get a guardian ad litem when asking a judge for a judicial waiver to get around the state parental notification law.

The House passed its bill on a 70-45 vote last week with mostly Republicans backing the bill and mostly Democrats voting against it.

During the House debate, Rep. Marti Coley, a Republican, said she supported the bill both to reduce the number of abortions and to give women the full scope of information before they have an abortion.

"I can’t imagine any man having a procedure without prior tests and knowing that he’s got everything in order," she said, according to an AP report. "As a woman, as a mother, I ask you to support this bill … to ensure that all women are offered safe health care."

During the committee debate on the bill, Florida Right to Life 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 given information from the abortion centers such as an ultrasound of their baby. They said it likely would have prompted them to seek alternatives.

Adam Goldman, the vice president for legislative affairs of Florida Right to Life, told LifeNews.com that his group strongly supports the measure.

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 said he believes the legislative leaders in the Senate 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 them.

This is the second time for the bill as the Florida House approved it last year but the Senate version was watered down and 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.

Related web sites:
Florida Right to Life – https://www.frtl.org
Florida State House – https://www.myfloridahouse.gov
Florida legislature – https://www.leg.state.fl.us