BOISE, March 29, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Idaho ultrasound bill that has been the subject of an extremely aggressive campaign from pro-abortion opponents met a sudden end this week despite a strong showing in the state Senate.
Like similar recent bills in Virginia and Texas, Idaho’s measure would have required abortionists to perform an ultrasound on mothers prior to an abortion, and to inform them of their right to see the ultrasound image of their child at their discretion.
The bill, which passed 23-12 in the state Senate, was on track for consideration this week before Republican Rep. Tom Loertscher announced Tuesday that he would not schedule the hearing. Idaho’s 3-month legislative session ends this week, and will not reconvene until January 2013.
LifeSiteNews.com spoke with Kerry Uhlenkott, the legislative coordinator for Idaho Right to Life, who called the turn of events “very disappointing.”
“We just ran out of time to convince the members in the House,” said Uhlenkott, whose organization ultimately agreed to drop the bill. “We pushed as hard as we could.”
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The ending was anticlimactic for a bill that was memorable for its supporters showing a live ultrasound demonstration on pregnant women in the Senate.
The fever pitch campaigning against the bill by pro-abortion lobbyists likely played a role in its demise. Pro-abortion hecklers were removed from the capitol during a hearing last week, and buses of pro-abortion demonstrators were reportedly brought in to beef up local protests.
Uhlenkott said that one sponsor of the bill was even personally targeted with messages threatening to rape his wife. “It was very vicious. They had no boundaries on where they went,” she said.
One of the opposition’s strongest tactics was its accusation that lawmakers were “raping” women because the bill might require the use of a transvaginal ultrasound. But Uhlenkott noted that the measure, which allowed doctors to choose the type of ultrasound in consultation with the patient, merely upheld normal standards for performing abortions safe for the mother.
“We know [abortion clinics] use the transvaginal, they do it all the time. This is why it’s so disingenuous,” said Uhlenkott, who pointed to a pro-choice professor’s Slate article calling the rape rhetoric a dangerous distortion of “a benign and routine part of the abortion procedure.”
Some Republican state lawmakers indicated willingness to consider the legislation again next year, but with caveats: Sen. Chuch Winder said he would consider adding a rape and incest exception, among other amendments.
Uhlenkott told LSN that she was confident that the legislation was appropriate as it stands, and an important part of basic informed consent: when a doctor performs a mammogram, “he doesn’t just put it in a drawer, he shares it with the woman,” she said. “[Abortionists] turn the screen away.”
“We’re committed to come back. Our bill is fine the way it is,” she said.