Invasive Abortion ‘Ultrasound’ Bill Passes House Committee

The Pennsylvania House Health Committee voted yesterday to advance something they’re calling the “Women’s Right to Know Act,” which would allow a woman to take a look at an ultrasound and listen to the fetus’ heartbeat before getting an abortion.

And by “allow,” we mean “force.”

House Bill 1077 was introduced by Rep. Kathy Rapp of Warren County in October and would further restrict a woman’s right to choose in Pennsylvania (assuming she’s able to find a women’s health clinic that hasn’t yet closed). It requires all women undergo certain procedures at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, with exceptions provided in cases of rape, incest, medical emergencies and for fetuses that are less than eight weeks along. The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation says the measure is meant to empower women, just like the scene in Juno that melted all our hearts.

When we first reported on this bill in October, Philly state Rep. Babette Josephs told us the 113 co-sponsors of this bill “assume—all of them—that women are either childish, frivolous, brainless, stupid or evil.” She also railed against the requirements it puts on Pennsylvania’s doctors, who, if they do not follow the bureaucracy’s rules, can face an injunction by the attorney general and have their facility shut down.

According to the legislation, the doctor performing the procedure is required to “Position the screen so that the patient is able to view the ultrasound test in its entirety, with a view of her unborn child, while that test is being conducted to determine gestational age,” although, “The patient is not required to view the screen.” Then, two prints of the ultrasound are made. The woman seeking the abortion and the doctor providing the procedure both get a copy. The doctor must tell the woman how old the fetus is and if the heartbeat is normal.

According to Life News, the legislation is required because ‘vulnerable’ women seeking an abortion aren’t able to think for themselves. I kid you not:

When a pregnant woman enters an abortion facility, she does so in a state of vulnerability. She is scared and often feels trapped by her circumstances. Abortion has been marketed to her by clinic workers or even forced upon her by a boyfriend or by her family and she has come to believe it is the only way out. In her state of stress and anxiety, making her aware of the information available to her can provide much-needed clarity. The decision she is about to make is irrevocable. She will live with the consequences for the rest of her life. For many women, abortion has done irreparable damage, leaving them to suffer physical and psychological problems.

Many post-abortive women say that if they had known all the facts, including information about the development of their unborn child, they would have made a different decision.  We owe it to women to ensure they have all the facts.

When we talked to Rep. Josephs about the bill in the fall, she made the point that many of the bill’s 113 co-sponsors must have low opinions of their own constituents. “What I find profoundly insulting is that these men and women on this bill think their own voters, who they assume are smart enough to vote for them, can’t figure out what their own pregnancies are about and are too stupid…or evil to handle it themselves,” she said.

Similar bills have been passed in states across the country. HB 1077 would put Pennsylvania on par with Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas.

“This legislation will empower women by giving them a high-tech tool that will provide them with critical information about the development of the child in the womb,” said Maria Vitale Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.  “House Bill 1077 represents a victory for women, and a victory for patient rights.”

10 Responses to “ Invasive Abortion ‘Ultrasound’ Bill Passes House Committee ”

  1. expectant mom says:

    I had an ultrasound at just shy of 7 weeks (which meant my baby had been in the womb for about 5 weeks). He already had a healthy heartbeat. How do I have the right to take that life away from him?

  2. brendancalling says:

    @expectant mom: you make that decision for YOURSELF. It is not the government’s job to make that decision FOR YOU. That is what this bill moves toward.

  3. Emily says:

    @brendancalling: thank goodness there are people like you out there to knock some sense into people like Expectant Mom. each woman (and man, for that matter) deserves the right to choose what she (or he) does with her (or his) body. just as Expectant Mom has the right to keep her child, other women should be allowed the right to an abortion if they feel they are not ready or competent enough to care for a child.

  4. Maggie says:

    If you are female, and anti-abortion, then don’t have one.
    If you’re male, unless you’re the father of the perspective person, then you can just shut the hell up.

    Good Grief – when did certain parts of America turn into primitive areas of the Middle East? Religiously devout men are making decisions for women that will impact women’s lives, and take away their freedoms. Sounds exactly like the Taliban. Screw that.

    If your decisions are faith-based, you NEED to understand 2 things

    1) Most people don’t care about what your book says
    2) Your rights to decide begin and end with YOUR family.

  5. Katrina says:

    Ok, but this isn’t taking away people’s rights to have an abortion at all. It’s making sure you are more informed about what you’re about to do. Getting an abortion is a big deal and a lot of women undergo serious trauma from it. If anything, this is just a hoop to jump through to get it done…and I think it’s a good one. Most of the people fighting against this have probably never known a woman during the time of her abortion. It’s frightening to realize that you may have taken a life (depending on what you believe). There is nothing wrong with an informed decision. Also, this can prevent abortion induced infertility.

  6. Frustrated says:

    50% of pregnancies a year are unintended, about 40% of those end in abortion. Neither unintended pregnancy or abortion are uncommon. Over 60% of women in the US who have abortions already have 1 or more children. Do they need to be informed about what pregnancy and termination means because they somehow forgot between one pregnancy and the next? Over 80% of women who get abortions are over 21 years of age. Did they never learn that being pregnant means you are going to have a baby? Even abstinence only sex ed isn’t bad enough to teach women that babies come from storks.

    Two studies have tested the effect of viewing ultrasound images on women’s decision to have an abortion. One in Canada, one in South Africa. Both found that over 80% of women chose to view the ultrasound if offered, and 0% changed their minds. This supports the common sense view that women understand what being pregnant and having an abortion means, and have made their decision by the time they get to the clinic.

    You want to talk about informed consent? How about telling women what life as a single mother is like when states are slashing funding to social programs. Having a child can lead to a cycle of poverty that does not only impact the mother, but her child, any other children she might have, and their children. People who are against abortion should be willing to support women who carry pregnancies to term. This just isn’t the case.

    Unsurprisingly 42% of women seeking abortions are 100% below the federal poverty level, and 69% are below 200% of the poverty level living on about $20, 000 a year. Many of these women are already supporting children on these incomes. Additional barriers to family planning are not what these women need.

    The chances of dying, suffering infertility, or other serious bodily harm remains higher from carrying a pregnancy to term. All medical procedures have some degree of risk associated with them, this is no reason to make them so expensive and difficult to obtain that the option is doing nothing.

  7. Horrified in Pittsburgh says:

    I am absolutely appalled that politicians believe that they have the knowledge and right to dictate what medical tests have to be done on a pregnant woman (or any woman for that matter)and not just medical tests but intrusive medical procedures. To use the excuse that patients need information to make this type of decision is ridiculous – what procedures do men need to have forced on them in order to make medical decisions???

    The only thing that is even more upsetting is the fact that women policians are party to this fantatical cost-raising stupidity. Yes people need information to make medical decisions but it is not up to the legislators to decide how much information and how it should be delivered.

  8. Tom says:

    I thought conservatives were against BIG Government? It doesn’t get much bigger than this – The government telling doctors how to practice and deliver patient care.

    Who is going to pay for the new, medically unnecessary cost of these ultra-sounds?

    Remember all the outrage and protests against the healthcare act? “The government should not be able tell us that we have to buy health insurance”. How is it now ok that the government can tell us that we have to have an unncessary medical procedure?

    Government forced medical procedures on women, attacks on birth control, defunding services for poor woment – when are women going to wake up to what is going on?

  9. Mandy Mc says:


    Oh, but it’s not *big* government to them! I mean, it’s government designed to fit inside of my vagina and uterus, so it cant’ be *that* big!

    (I hope your sarcasm meters are all calibrated correctly.)

  10. [...] state government has attempted to push through other pro-life bills as of late, including invasive ultrasound legislation which would have required women seeking abortions to get an ultrasound and, in one conception of [...]

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