North Dakota House Panel Approves Bill for Ultrasound Viewing Before Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
January 29, 2009
Bismarck, ND (LifeNews.com) — A North Dakota state House committee unanimously approved legislation allowing women a chance to see an ultrasound of their baby prior to an abortion. The measure is designed to help women learn the humanity of their unborn child and to consider abortion alternatives.
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. Rep. Bette Grande, a Republican sponsoring House Bill 1371, hopes the change that.
Her legislation would 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.
On Wednesday, the House Human Services Committee voted 13-0 in favor of the pro-life bill.
"That is great news. Now we need to encourage the full House to pass the bill," Tom Freier of the North Dakota Family Alliance told LifeNews.com.
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 during the hearing.
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.
Meanwhile, the House Human Services Committee is expected to hold a hearing soon on another pro-life bill, HB 1445, that strengthens the informed consent section of the century code in relation to abortion and what information must be given to women.
The bill requires the abortion practitioner to tell women that "the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being."
North Dakota Right to Life, the North Dakota affiliate of Concerned Women for America and the North Dakota Catholic Conference also support the bills.
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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