Ultrasound bill adds fuel to abortion debate

Credit: Theresa Palmgren/KTVB

Ultrasound bill adds fuel to abortion debate

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by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on March 8, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 6:10 AM

BOISE -- The Pro-Choice/Pro-Life battle over abortion is raging again in Idaho as a controversial bill is making its way through the Legislature.

Planned Parenthood, the ACLU of Idaho, and United Action for Idaho organized a rally on the Statehouse steps Thursday against Senate Bill 1349, which calls for mandated ultrasounds before abortions.

"They're outraged about this," said Hannah Brass, Legislative Director for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest.

Brass believes the measure is a violation of a woman's privacy.

"When a woman goes to a doctor, or anyone in Idaho goes to a doctor, that's a private relationship," she said. "This takes that out. It takes that individual care out and puts in a one-size-fits-all mandate."

"It was brought to me by Idaho Right to Life and a group of women that felt this was important for informed consent," said Sen. Chuck Winder (R - Boise), who is the bill's sponsor.

Winder and other proponents believe the ultrasounds, in some cases, can lead to better care for the woman. He also says they're just trying to inform women of the gravity of their decision.

"They just need to be informed that this is a baby, a human being that is being terminated," said Winder.

But whether the measure becomes law or not, it's already creating new fuel for a debate that's been raging for decades.

"We're trying to save lives, we're trying to save women from the trauma of abortion, and the psychological impact that has on their life," said Winder.

"What this really is about is politics and women's health issues," said Brass. "The Legislature is making medical decisions rather than the doctors in this case. So it doesn't save lives. What it does is put the legislators in the exam room."

Virginia's governor just signed a very similar bill into law. Both that bill (and Idaho's) originally included a mandate that the ultrasound be transvaginal, which is invasive. But that was dropped from both bills.  Winder says the type of ultrasound would be left up to the doctor and the patient.

The bill is set for a hearing next week in the Senate State Affairs Committee. Winder says they might run out of time this session to put it on the governor's desk.

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