BOISE, March 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - An Idaho bill that would require pregnant women to undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion was thrust into legislative limbo yesterday after a heated battle that saw several pro-abortion demonstrators forcibly removed from a hearing room in the state capitol.
The proposal, which is similar to a recently enacted Virginia law, requires doctors to perform an ultrasound prior to an abortion and to inform the woman of her right to view the ultrasound, listen to the baby’s heartbeat, and have a physical copy of the ultrasound image.
The law would require abortion facilities to provide women with fetal development facts, names and addresses of organizations that offer free ultrasounds and pregnancy assistance, descriptions of abortion methods, and information about adoption services.
The bill passed the Senate Monday by a vote of 23-12, and was originally scheduled for a hearing in the House Thursday morning. The hearing was abruptly cancelled, however, after members of the pro-abortion lobby descended on the Capitol yesterday during a presentation on ultrasounds.
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“There’s been a national call by the abortion lobby and by Planned Parenthood to oppose ultrasound legislation around the nation,” said Brandi Swindell, a local pro-life activist who has been on the forefront of promoting the legislation. “They’re trying to bully our legislators and disrupt our events, and it’s pretty sad.”
Swindell is the founder of Stanton Healthcare, a pro-life outreach that provides services to women in crisis pregnancies. According to the Idaho Statesman, 95% of the abortions performed in Idaho in 2009 were in Ada County, where Stanton is the only provider of free ultrasounds.
The organization became the target of pro-abortion heckling during a live ultrasound presentation that it conducted for lawmakers in a Senate hearing room Wednesday.
The purpose of the presentation, says Swindell, was to dispel the myth that ultrasounds are painful or invasive. Opponents of the Virginia bill had likened the legislation to state-enforced “rape,” a comparison which Swindell called “a severe violation of the truth.”
“It was disappointing to see the abortion lobby so angry and so disruptive simply over an ultrasound image,” Swindell commented. “I’m a firm believer in free speech, but to come in with the intention of being disruptive is just deeply disappointing.” She estimated that ten to fifteen pro-abortion hecklers had to be forcibly removed from the room.
The six pregnant mothers who had volunteered their unborn babies as ultrasound subjects were equally dismayed. Some even asked that their names be withheld from the media because of the animosity that had been directed towards them.
Three of the six moms are post-abortive, according to Swindell, and say that they may not have had an abortion if they had been given an ultrasound during their previous pregnancy.
“Ultrasound imaging is a game changer in the abortion debate, and it’s a game changer in a woman’s mind and in her heart when she sees the heartbeat of her baby for the very first time,” she said, adding that the pro-abortion lobby was “coming out full force” to oppose the legislation because they know the power of ultrasound images.
With the impending close of the legislative session, the future of the bill is uncertain; but House State Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher has said that he does not consider it dead. According to Swindell, the delay may be a tactical move on the part of the bill’s supporters in order to buy time to secure more votes.
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