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.