Kentucky Senate OKs Bill Allowing Women to See Ultrasound Before Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 26, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kentucky Senate OKs Bill Allowing Women to See Ultrasound Before Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 26
, 2010

Frankfort, KY ( — The Kentucky state Senate has approved a bill allowing women to see an ultrasound of their unborn baby before an abortion. When used in pregnancy centers ultrasounds help more than 80 percent of women decide against an abortion and to keep their baby.

Approval came after the Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee recently approved Senate Bill 38, sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Tori, a Republican.

Teresa Watson, executive director of the Pregnancy Resource Center, applauded the vote.

"They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this is something that will give her more information than she had before. She can see the reality of the child very simply on the screen and I believe she deserves to be able to see that," she said according to WLKY.

"The most common remark we hear is, ‘I did not know.’ They did not know how far along, what their baby looked like at the gestation they were when they had the abortion," Watson said of women who come to her center.

Shirley Jones of Planned Parenthood of Kentucky indicated the abortion business opposes the bill to help women get more information, but admitted that, "Offering that information is certainly something the physician and the patient will want to discuss."

Under Senate Bill 38, abortion practitioners would face a $100,000 fine the first time they deny women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child and a $250,000 fine for each time thereafter.

Meanwhile, the director of EMW Women’s Surgical Center, which does abortions in Louisville, admitted to WLKY that they do ultrasound scans before all abortions.

“Abortion is a life-changing and life-ending procedure,” said Robert Castagna, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, according to Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper.

“Good public policy demands that before a woman gives truly informed consent and allows an irreversible procedure to be performed on herself and her unborn child, she should be fully informed by the most complete and current information," he said.

Kentucky pro-life advocates hope this year’s bill goes further than the 2009 version, which received Senate approval before dying in a House committee. The state Senate signed off on that bill on a 33-4 vote but, for the second year in a row, the Kentucky House Health and Welfare Committee shot down the measure.

Tori told the Louisville newspaper that this year’s measure goes further because it requires abortion practitioners to explain what the ultrasound shows — including if more than one baby is present and to point out the limbs and torso of the child.

Derek Selznick, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky said the pro-abortion legal group opposes the bill.

Leaders with Kentucky Right to Life were not surprised when the bill was killed last year.

"This is a repeat of last year, the players are different, but the playbook remains the same: kill the pro-life bill in committee then tell your constituents that you would have voted for the bill if it reached the floor," KRLA assistant director Michael Janocik explained.

More than 16 states have enacted abortion-ultrasound laws that enhance the opportunity for women seeking an abortion to see an ultrasound image of their baby.

Related web sites:
Kentucky Legislature –
Kentucky Right to Life –

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