Pre-abortion Ultrasound Requirement

S.B. 313 - Sen. Dave Robertson

H.B. 4433 - Rep. Joel Johnson

Current Status
H.B. 4433 was introduced in the House on March 15, 2011 and referred to the House Committee on Health Policy. S.B. 313 was introduced on April 12, 2011 and referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee. No action on either bill was taken during the entire 2011-2012 session. The bills "died" at the close of the session and will have to be reintroduced in the 2013-2014 session in order to receive any future consideration.

These bills strengthen Michigan's current Ultrasound Viewing Option Law, which currently mandates that abortion providers who do pre-abortion diagnostic ultrasounds give the woman the opportunity to view the ultrasound screen, and offer her a printout of the ultrasound image.

H.B. 4433/S.B. 313 would make the performance of the diagnostic ultrasound a requirement. The ultrasound must be performed at least two hours before the abortion, including before administration of any sedatives or anesthetic, and the physician or qualified person assisting the physician must use the most technologically advanced equipment available in the facility. The screen must be turned toward the woman to allow her to view easily the ultrasound image. The physician must inform the woman that the ultrasound image of the fetus is visible, and offer to give the woman an oral explanation of the ultrasound image, in addition to the requirement currently in law that she be offered a printout of the ultrasound image. The physician must also provide the opportunity for her to hear the fetal heartbeat.

Those who work with women in crisis pregnancies indicate that many abortion-minded women choose to bring their baby to term after viewing an ultrasound image of their unborn child. Armed with this knowledge, Michigan legislators enacted the Ultrasound Viewing Option Law in 2006.

Since that time, evidence has come to light that abortion facilities are using older ultrasound machines for the diagnostic ultrasound and then using newer, more advanced ultrasound equipment during the abortion procedure. Abortion facilities are giving women blurry, grainy ultrasound printouts. They also at times are performing the diagnostic ultrasound just moments before performing the abortion, after the woman has already been sedated and prepped for the abortion.

Abortion facilities have a financial incentive to keep women from learning essential information about her unborn child that may cause her to change her mind. This legislation creates a buffer between that financial interest and a woman’s right to know the truth.

In addition, making the pre-abortion diagnostic ultrasound a requirement will not only save the lives of unborn babies, it will also protect women's health. The diagnostic ultrasound verifies that the pregnancy is intrauterine and not ectopic, and confirms the gestational age of the unborn child.

An earlier version of this bill was introduced last session. It passed the Senate 27-11 but died in committee in the House.

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