State Bills Requiring Abortion Providers to Offer Ultrasounds

The Arkansas Senate last month passed a bill (SB 729) requiring abortion providers to offer women an ultrasound image of the fetus prior to undergoing an abortion, reported Kaisernetwork. Sponsored by Sen. Bobby Glover (D-Carlisle), the bill would mandate that physicians maintain patients’ written signed acceptance/rejection files for a minimum of three years. Violators could face disciplinary action from the state medical board. Sen. Sue Madison (D-Fayetteville) criticized the measure calling it an “extra impediment put in the way of a woman seeking a legal abortion,” according to the Associated Press. The House is expected to consider the bill.

Meanwhile in Indiana, state legislators held a hearing last month on a similar bill (SB 173), also requiring abortion providers to offer ultrasounds to women seeking abortions. Sen. R. Michael Young, sponsor of the new bill as well as the highly contentious 1995 in-person abortion counseling law, insisted that whether women receive counseling by phone (currently the case until April 30) or in-clinic, the ultrasound option should be included in the consultation, which already offers a woman a view of a fetal picture, drawing or dimensions. Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Indiana told the Indianapolis Star, “it’s one more suggestion to the womanÉ that she is behaving frivolously… It’s not a procedure any woman takes lightly, and for these lawmakers to suggest otherwise is offensive.”

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, 23 states mandate waiting periods for abortions. Mississippi, Louisiana, Utah, and Wisconsin require in-person counseling within the 24-hour delay.


Kaisernetwork 3/27/03; Associated Press 3/26/03; Indianapolis Star 3/31/03

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