Video: S.C. eyes controversial abortion bill

updated 4/12/2007 5:58:33 PM ET 2007-04-12T21:58:33

A state Senate panel on Thursday dropped a measure from an abortion bill that would have made South Carolina the only state to require women to review an ultrasound image of the fetus before terminating a pregnancy.

Under the new proposal, a doctor would be required to tell a woman she has a right to have an ultrasound and see the images.

“It’s not forcing a woman to do something against her will,” said Sen. Linda Short, the only woman in the Senate and a member of the subcommittee that dropped the measure.

Short, a Democrat, expects the new version of the bill to easily pass the Senate, leading to a showdown with the House, whose members have passed a version that includes the ultrasound requirement.

The bill’s sponsor in the House said the Senate version was unacceptable.

A mandated review “provides an opportunity for a patient to pause,” said Rep. Greg Delleney, a Republican.

Proponents believe women would change their minds after seeing an ultrasound and choose to keep the child or offer it for adoption. Critics consider it a way to intimidate women who already have made an agonizing decision.

Last week, the attorney general told lawmakers it would be illegal for the state to force a woman to view an ultrasound image against her will.

On Thursday, Attorney General Henry McMaster said he thought the Senate’s bill could withstand a legal challenge.

Some states already make ultrasound images available to women before an abortion.

The Senate subcommittee unanimously approved the amended bill that would require a doctor to provide a list of places to get a free ultrasound if a woman chooses the procedure. Ultrasounds are done in most cases to verify the fetus’ age.

The bill now heads to the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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