Following a national debate over a similar law in Virginia that allows women to see an ultrasound of their unborn baby before an abortion, the Idaho state Senate has approved a bill allowing women there to see the results.
Senate Bill 1387 received the support of a 23-12 vote from lawmakers and all seven Democrats opposed the bill while five Republicans joined them. The measure is expected to get through the state House and then to the governor.
According to an AP report, lawmakers said the ultrasound allowance would be an improvement on the Right to Know informed consent law the state already has in place allowing women to get information about abortion’s risks and alternatives abortion facilities don’t normally provide.
“This bill does take it one step further,” said Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, who sponsored the legislation on behalf of the anti-abortion group Right to Life of Idaho. “I would think the most basic human right we have to protect is the right to life.”
Sen. Shawn Keough of Sandpoint, one of the five GOP senators to vote against the bill, said she was a “right-to-life” lawmaker, but couldn’t support the encroachment of government into the privacy of the doctor’s practice. The other Republicans who voted against the bill were Joyce Broadsword, of Sagle; Jim Hammond and John Goedde, of Coeur d’Alene; and Tim Corder, of Mountain Home.
“I am pleased to do whatever I can to protect innocent human life,” said Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens. “I support his legislation because I believe it gives the unborn one more chance to make the case that they should live. That, to me, overrides the other concerns I might have about this bill.”
Right to Life of Idaho had worked overtime before the vote to get pro-life support for the legislation.
“It is imperative that the Senators hear from us to support this bill. Our opponents are sending a large amount of emails to them to oppose this bill. Please do not remain silent. It is vital that our elected representatives hear from us,” the organization said in an action alert supporting the measure.
The Cornerstone Family Council also supports the bill.
“Radical abortion rights activists are verbally attacking pro-life Senators. They have unleashed an all-out caustic e-mail assault comparing the Senators to the Taliban and Nazis. Not only are they rudely characterizing all pro-life citizens, but pro-abortion radicals are NOT telling the truth about the facts or the intent of S1387,” the group told its members.
“This Ultrasound legislation protects the mother’s right to see her unborn child in real-time ultrasound,” CFC said. “Abortion comes with a legion of physical, emotional and psychological risks that have the potential to scar a woman’s life forever in untold ways. The compassionate and right thing for the state to do is guarantee the mother access to information relevant to her decision. Allowing the pregnant mother to benefit from ultrasound information can only help her with this life-changing decision.”
The State Affairs Committee approved the Ultrasound bill on a 7-2 vote and Democrats Edgar Malepeai and Michelle Stennett voted against the bill.
SB 1387 would require an ultrasound prior to performance of an abortion. It would also require that the woman sign a form indicating that she had been given an opportunity to view the image.