Louisiana Law Allowing Women to See Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Faces Lawsuit
by Steven Ertelt
August 9, 2010
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — The new Louisiana law Governor Bobby Jindal signed allowing women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child before the abortion is facing a new lawsuit. The Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion law firm based in New York City, is behind the suit against the pro-woman law.
The Ultrasound Before Abortion Act, SB 528, authored by Senator Sharon Weston Broome (D-Baton Rouge), would require ultrasounds to be performed before all abortions in Louisiana.
Women would be given an opportunity to see it or sign a document saying they did not decide to do so. They’re normally not given a chance to see ultrasounds of their baby and pro-life advocates hope the ultrasound will persuade some women to choose abortion alternatives.
On Friday, the Center filed a federal challenge against the ultrasound law and a second bill Jindal signed into law that excludes abortion practitioners from participating in a medical malpractice fund administered by the state.
"Both of these measures seriously interfere with doctors’ ability to provide women the medical care that they expect and are legally entitled," said Stephanie Toti, staff attorney at the pro-abortion legal group. "The government cannot single out abortion providers and the women who seek their services simply because some politicians don’t approve. It’s completely unfair and more importantly, it violates the U.S. Constitution."
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, argues that the medical malpractice provision treats abortion practitioners differently than legitimate medical professionals and deprives them of the benefits afforded to healthcare providers who receive that coverage.
The pro-abortion group argues the ultrasound law, which allows women to see their baby, "will be detrimental to the patients’ emotional well-being and their relationship with their healthcare provider."
The plaintiffs in the case are a group of Louisiana abortion practitioners located in Shreveport, Bossier City, Baton Rouge, Metairie, and New Orleans.
Louisiana Right to Life Federation brought forward the pro-life bills and helped navigate them through the legislative process.
Benjamin Clapper, executive director of the group, told LifeNews.com today that "Louisiana furthered its exemplary commitment to defending unborn human life by enacting these critical pieces of pro-life legislation."
"We thank Governor Jindal for signing these bills into law and for his administration working with us every step of the way to pass these measures," he added.
We brought these bills forward to the legislature out of the desire to increase the positive effects of ultrasound and to prevent the government funding of abortion. We are confident these new laws will save the lives of unborn children and open the door to life-affirming choices for mothers, Clapper said.
During the testimony, Clapper said 30-40 places do free ultrasounds in the state and most abortion centers do an ultrasound prior to the abortion already, though women may not get to see it.
Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, a Democrat, said she wanted the state informed consent law on abortion to provide women even more information.
I felt it was necessary for us to go farther, Broome said, according to the Advocate newspaper. I call it an empowerment piece of legislation for women.
Julie Mickelberry, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Louisiana, opposed the bill. She said Broome isn’t doing anything to help pregnant women and said the bill intrudes on the doctor-patient relationship.
You don’t know me or what I have done to help women in this community and throughout the state, Broome responded, according to the Baton Rogue newspaper. We have no physicians who have come in opposition to this bill from any of the statewide organizations, and I think that speaks volumes."
"I think women should have as much information as possible before they make a critical decision about having an abortion," Broome said.
The legislation also has the support of the Bioethics Defense Fund and BDF attorney Dorinda Bordlee drafted the bill.
"Science tells us when life begins," she told LifeNews.com. "The real question is when love begins. Ultrasound before abortion legislation is highly effective because of the unexpected love women experience when seeing the beauty of their unborn children."
When used in pregnancy centers, women considering an abortion who see the ultrasound change their mind about the abortion about 80 percent of the time.
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