Proposed Michigan law would require viewing fetal photo before an abortion

Published: Tuesday, April 26 2011 10:52 a.m. MDT

Even though many states' legislative sessions are winding down, abortion-restricting bills are continuing to pop up across the country. Some of the bills mirror legislation already introduced and/or passed in other states, such as parental notification for teens seeking abortions or the requirement of pro-life counseling and increased wait time before an abortion.

Yet a Republican senator from Michigan has introduced a novel bill that would amend the state's health code by requiring that women seeking abortions be provided hard copies of the ultrasound pictures and an accompanying explanation just two hours before a scheduled procedure.

Sen. David Robertson (R-Grand Blanc Twp.) proposed the bill, which would require that a physician perform an ultrasound and allow the woman, if she chooses, a chance to hear the fetal heartbeat, receive a physical copy of the black and white image and have the image explained to her.

According to the bill, medical providers must also use the most technologically advanced ultrasound equipment available at the location, so as to give an accurate representation of the fetus.

"The knowledgeable exercise of a woman's decision to have an abortion depends on the extent to which the woman receives sufficient information to make an informed choice regarding abortion," according to the bill, S.B. 313. "The decision to obtain an abortion is an important and often stressful one, and it is in the state's interest that the decision be made with full knowledge of its nature consequences."

A similar bill, H.B. 4433 has been introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives.

In Rhode Island, lawmakers are considering a bill, similar to one passed in Arizona, that would outlaw abortions based on the fetus' gender, as well as a bill requiring a fetal ultrasound, though the woman would not be required to view it.

And in Louisiana, a Republican representative has proposed a bill that would make abortions illegal by classifying the procedures as feticide and punishing the mothers who get them and the doctors who provide them.

Rep. John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie, said he doesn't think it's a highly controversial bill, given that the majority of the legislature's democrats are opposed to abortion.

The bill, HB 587, specifically removes wording that mentions "regulating" abortion to the "extent permitted by the decisions of the United States Supreme Court," and instead uses the phrase, "it is the intention of the Legislature of the State of Louisiana to prohibit abortion."

email: sisraelsen@desnews.com

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