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MO Legislature Considering Ultrasound, Reporting Restrictions

The Missouri state Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony this week on a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound 24 hours prior to an abortion procedure. The bill, introduced by state Senator Rob Mayer (R), also requires doctors to describe details of the ultrasound images and women to sign a form indicating that she was presented with all notification information, including alternatives to abortion. The text of the bill states that “the woman must also be provided with the gestational age of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed and must be given an opportunity to view, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, an active ultrasound of the unborn child and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child, if the heartbeat is audible.” It continues, “Prior to an abortion being performed past twenty-two weeks gestational age, the woman must be provided information regarding the possibility of the abortion causing pain to the unborn child.” According to Heartland News, Mayer testified to the Senate Committee that the bill could help “persuade” women to choose options other than abortion. A Planned Parenthood spokesperson told the Associated Press that the bills requirements impose an “unfair burden” on women and that much of the information required by the bill is currently available in Missouri. A similar bill in Missouri ultimately failed last year after two separate versions of the bill passed in both the state House and state Senate. This legislation would have required women seeking an abortion to be informed of certain information in person 24 hours prior to the procedure. The required information included a description of the procedure and associated health risks, a description of fetal development, information on possible fetal pain after 22 weeks gestation, information on options other than abortion, and an offer to show the patient ultrasound images and make the heartbeat audible.

Sources:

Heartland News 2/16/10; Associated Press 2/15/10; Missouri SB 793; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/14/09

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