On the heels of yesterday’s topic on abortion, I wanted to quickly post this news of a new state law in Louisiana which will require all women seeking and abortion to get an ultrasound of the fetus first. And when this bill says all women, this bill means ALL WOMEN for it also includes mandatory ultra sounds for victims of rape or incest who wish to have an abortion.
With everyone paying (rightly) so much attention to the BP oil spill/Gulf crisis, this story did not receive much media attention.
Louisiana To Require Ultrasounds Before Abortions
by The Associated Press
June 16, 2010
Women seeking abortions in Louisiana will be required to get an ultrasound first, even if they are a victim of rape or incest, under a bill that received final legislative passage Wednesday.
The bill by Democratic state Sen. Sharon Broome of Baton Rouge was sent to the governor’s desk with a 79-0 vote of the state House. Gov. Bobby Jindal supports the measure.
Supporters of the proposal said they hope the ultrasound dissuades some women from getting an abortion at the handful of abortion clinics in Louisiana, by giving them more information about their pregnancies.
“This is a bill that empowers women,” Broome said in committee testimony, adding that at least 15 other states have a similar requirement.
Opponents said requiring a procedure that might not be available at a free clinic nearby will make it more difficult and costly for women to get abortions. No one spoke against the proposal on the House floor Wednesday.
An ultrasound at health care facilities around the state can cost anywhere from $80 to more than $300, depending on the location, according to a review of health care pricing websites for hospitals and clinics in Louisiana.
It was unclear how significant the change will really be, however. Testimony from both sides of the debate has indicated more than 95 percent of women who get abortions in Louisiana already have ultrasounds performed, without the requirement in place.
Broome’s bill started out in a much more controversial fashion. It would have required anyone seeking an abortion to listen to a detailed description of the fetus that included its dimensions and whether arms, legs or internal organs are visible. The woman also would have been required to get a photograph of the ultrasound.
Those requirements were removed from the bill at its first stop in a Senate committee hearing. The description and the photograph will be optional instead, and a statement must be read to the woman seeking the abortion describing her ability to get the description and photograph and view the ultrasound.
After the proposal was revised, it moved easily through the Legislature with few votes in opposition.
Louisiana has enacted a series of restrictions on abortions over the years, many of which have been overturned in courts. Lawmakers also have placed language in statutes to explain the state only allows abortion procedures because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled they are legal.
Earlier this week, lawmakers gave final passage to another bill that would give Louisiana’s health secretary broader discretion to revoke abortion clinic licenses in case of safety and health concerns. Awaiting debate in the Senate is a House-approved bill that would prohibit medical malpractice coverage of doctors when they are performing elective abortions that aren’t required to save the life of the mother.
I am not quite sure how I feel about this one. On the one hand, the law may certainly sway a mother to continue with her pregnancy. There is nothing wrong with that as long as her health is not in danger. However, on the other hand, if I were raped by a family member, I am sure I would not want to see evidence of the assault/abuse. The images of the attack which live in the mind are potentially traumatizing enough. Imagine having to look at a child fathered by an act of rape. I know how painful it is because my mother was raped in 1957 and became pregnant as a result of a violent act- at knife point. She carried the babyto full term and raised him for one year. After she could no longer stand to look at her son, she gave him up to the family of the man that raped her.
Because the Louisiana law includes victims of rape and incest, I cannot say that it is absolutely benign.
You be the judge.
Autographed Letter Signed,