North Dakota State House Easily Approves Ultrasound Before Abortion Bill
by Steven Ertelt
February 1, 2009
Bismarck, ND (LifeNews.com) — The North Dakota state House has easily approved a bill that would allow 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.
The House passed HB 1371 on a strongly bipartisan 77-9 vote.
"We thank all those House members voting for this important piece of legislation," Tom Freier of the North Dakota Family Alliance told LifeNews.com.
Freier thanks pro-life advocates from across the state for calling in to legislators supporting the bill and he said the grassroots support is needed to get the measure through the state Senate and to the governor.
"Thanks to all of you who supported this important bill to save unborn lives. We will need your continued support of HB 1371 as it will be heard in the Senate in the weeks to come," he said.
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.
The full House vote came after the House Human Services Committee voted 13-0 in favor of the pro-life bill.
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 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.
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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