North Dakota Legislature Holds Hearing on Allowing Ultrasound Before Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
January 21, 2009
Bismarck, ND (LifeNews.com) — While most abortion businesses do an ultrasound before an abortion is done on a woman and her unborn child, that doesn’t mean the mother will have a chance to see it. One North Dakota legislator hopes to change that and the legislature held a hearing on her bill on Wednesday.
Rep. Bette Grande, a Republican, is the sponsor of House Bill 1371 to offer women a chance to see an ultrasound in the same way she would be able to see an x-ray prior to other medical procedures.
Grande favors the bill because it enhances the informed consent women should be able to expect before an abortion, but also because it will likely reduce abortions because some women will change their mind about having one.
Its strictly prudent education for the patient, Grande told members of the House Human Services Committee.
The bill would require the abortion practitioner to offer an opportunity to view the ultrasound but would not mandate that the mother has to see it.
Several groups testified in favor of the bill and no one opposed it during the hearing.
Tom Freier of the North Dakota Family Alliance is one of the pro-life advocates who hopes legislators approve the measure.
"This bill will benefit both the unborn and the pregnant woman. By requiring an ultrasound to be offered previous to an abortion, it provides an image of the unborn baby and the heart tone," he told LifeNews.com.
"A high percentage of those seeing the ultrasound image gain a clear understanding of the importance of the decision they are about to make, and choose life. Making that choice not only means life for the unborn, but saves the mother from a future filled with remorse and pain," he added.
North Dakota Right to Life, and North Dakota Catholic Conference also supported the bill, which still awaits a committee vote.
Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Womens Clinic, the only abortion center in the state, claims it has offered women ultrasounds starting a year ago and that there is no need for the bill. She claims most women aren’t interested.
Pro-life advocates say the bill is important because the Red River Womens Clinic is expected to set a record for the number of abortions it is doing annually.
The abortion center has been doing abortions for just over ten years and did a record 1,358 abortions in 2003 and another 1,238 abortions last year.
Mary Spaulding Balch, an attorney with the National Right to Life Committee who monitors state legislation, says 18 states have passed similar bills to provide women the additional pre-abortion information.
Generally, giving that opportunity is to everyones benefit, Balch said, and also noted the trend towards choosing life after an ultrasound.
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