Forced ultrasound dropped from S.C. abortion bill

But the provision remains in the House version of the measure.

Published April 13, 2007 7:00PM (EDT)

Well, color me semihopeful: Yesterday, a South Carolina Senate council excised a provision from a larger abortion measure that would have required a woman to review an ultrasound image of her fetus before having an abortion. The bill now requires that a doctor inform a woman of her right to have an ultrasound and view the results. This is much less objectionable -- though, legislating what doctors have to tell their patients is all too prone to political exploitation. Sen. Linda Short -- who, the Associated Press rightly points out, is the only woman on the state Senate panel -- said the bill is no longer "forcing a woman to do something against her will." Progress, indeed.

But! While this much more acceptable version of the bill will likely fly through the Senate uninterrupted, it will have to face off against the House version of the bill, which includes the ultrasound proviso. Just last week, South Carolina's attorney general said it would be unconstitutional for a bill to force a woman to view her ultrasound image, but that the wording of the measure was vague enough to make it ultimately defensible in court. (Oh, the hilarity that ensued watching of a bunch of politicos deny that by saying a woman must "review" her ultrasound image, the bill intended to force a woman to view it.) After the Senate panel dropped the ultrasound requirement, Rep. Greg Delleney, sponsor of the House bill, told the AP that the ultrasound review "provides an opportunity for a patient to pause."

Like patients don't already have enough time for pause after being forced -- thanks to the state's informed-consent law -- to sit through a lecture on fetal development and abortion alternatives. Of course women should be provided with accurate and comprehensive medical information if they request it, but the politicization of the entire medical process is terrifying.

How far off is requiring any woman seeking an abortion to view her aborted fetus just so she really gets what she has done?

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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