Maryland Senate Defeats Bill to Allow Women Ultrasound Viewing Before Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
February 27, 2009
Annapolis, MD (LifeNews.com) — A Maryland state Senate committee has defeated legislation that would have allowed women considering an abortion a chance to see an ultrasound beforehand. While an ultrasound is almost always done before an abortion, women aren’t always afforded an opportunity to see it.
The measure to increase the right of women to give informed consent before an abortion met with defeat at the hands of a 9-2 vote in the Senate Finance Committee.
Sen. Bryan Simonaire, a Republican, sponsored the Ultrasound Options bill, which would have required abortion practitioners in Maryland — when an ultrasound examination is conducted prior to an abortion — to provide the woman with the opportunity to view the active ultrasound image and to receive a physical copy of the ultrasound picture.
Contrary to some news reports about the bill, the Ultrasound Options legislation did not mandate that a sonogram be performed before all abortions, nor did it obligate the woman to view the sonogram.
It simply would have made the sonogram image available to women who would choose to view it, Angela Martin, executive director of Maryland Right to Life, told LifeNews.com.
"This action by the Senate Finance Committee sends a clear message that Maryland stands squarely with the abortion lobby," Martin said after the vote. "Rather than ensuring that women have the opportunity to consider all the relevant information before an abortion, the committee voted to keep women in the dark."
Martin said abortion advocates are taking a contradictory position on the bill.
She pointed out that the National Abortion Federation’s 2008 Clinical Policy Guidelines state that abortion practitioners must obtain informed consent and assess that the decision to have an abortion is made freely by the patient.
However, representatives of NARAL Pro-choice Maryland, Planned Parenthood, and several abortion facilities opposed the bill.
Martin’s testimony before the Senate panel noted that the bill is needed to ensure that women are not choosing without sufficient reflection.
"Many post-abortive women report feeling rushed or pressured into choosing abortion," she maintained. "This bill would have provided woman with an opportunity to understand what they were undertaking."
Introducing the bill, Sen. Simonaire made it clear that no woman would be forced to view a sonogram against her will.
Pointing out that some women come to feel profound regret after an abortion, he maintained that the state needs to ensure that all women have the opportunity to be fully informed about their decision.
"Some post-abortive women later see a sonogram and are devastated by their decision. Some might have chosen differently if they had been given the chance to view the sonogram. This bill provides them with that option," he explained.
Sixteen states have enacted abortion-ultrasound laws that enhance the opportunity for women seeking an abortion to see an ultrasound image of their baby.
The Maryland bill was modeled after a bill that passed in Ohio last year and was signed into law by a pro-abortion governor.
"Abortion is irreversible," Martin concluded. "Women have a right to know what they are choosing. By killing this bill in committee, the senators have denied Maryland women the right to be fully informed."
Senators E.J. Pipkin and Barry Glassman voted pro-life against a motion to defeat the bill.
Senators John Astle, George Della, Jr., Rob Garagiola, Delores Kelley, Allan Kittleman, Katherine Klausmeier, Thomas Middleton, Nathaniel Exum, and Catherine E. Pugh voted pro-abortion for the motion to kill the bill.
ACTION: Contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and express your disappointment that the panel defeated the bill. See https://mdelect.net/electedofficials/default.asp
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