WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas announced Wednesday that he is introducing legislation requiring abortionists in every state to first perform an ultrasound and offer pregnant women the opportunity to see their babies and hear their heartbeats before going through with the choice to have them killed.
The Ultrasound Informed Consent Act requires abortion facilities to “perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman,” display their images and “make audible the live, real-time heart auscultation, when present,” explain the images and sounds, and “provide a complete medical description of the ultrasound images, which shall include all of the following: the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, cardiac activity if present and visible, and the presence of arms, legs, external members and internal organs if present and viewable, and provide a copy of the ultrasound image to the woman.”
The bill makes clear that the woman is not required to view the images, but an abortionist who neglects to give her the opportunity to do so may face a civil penalty of up to $100,000 per first offense and $250,000 per repeat offense. Women may also bring civil actions against abortionists who do not comply. The requirement would not apply in cases of an abortion performed to “save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”
“As an OBGYN who delivered thousands of babies, I never imagined I would be fighting harder in the Senate than I did in the ER and delivery room to protect mothers and babies,” Marshall said Wednesday. “I’m proud to lead on legislation that strikes at the abortion industry’s efforts to keep the truth from women by requiring mothers to be informed of their baby’s development and hear their heartbeat before consenting to an abortion. As a healthcare provider, it’s the least you can do to protect the safety and well-being of women and their unborn children.”
“By guaranteeing that mothers see their unborn children and hear their little hearts beating, the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act has the potential to save thousands of innocent lives,” added Martin Fox, president of the National Pro-Life Alliance, which has championed the bill.
The bill’s co-sponsors so far include Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Braun of Indiana, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ted Cruz of Texas, Steve Daines of Montana, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Rick Scott of Florida, and James Lankford of Oklahoma.
Pro-life activists support and abortion defenders oppose ultrasound requirements for the same reason: their ability to convey the humanity of preborn babies and dissuade women from abortion.
Pro-life group Save the Storks says that four of five pregnant women who see one of their free ultrasounds ultimately choose life. The similar ICU Mobile says its ultrasounds have convinced 56 percent of women who had already decided on abortion to change their minds, and 87 percent of those who were undecided to choose life. In addition, a 2011 study by Quinnipiac University’s Mark Gius concluded that “ultrasound laws had a very significant and negative effect on the abortion decision.”
Audio of fetal heartbeats, which generally begin as early as six weeks, has a similar effect, leading abortion defenders to falsely claim that such sounds do not depict heartbeats at all, but instead mere “electrical activity.” In fact, as explained in the medical textbook Anatomy & Physiology, the heart “begins beating and pumping blood around day 21 or 22, a mere three weeks after fertilization,” with the physical structure taking shape a week later and valves forming between weeks five and nine.
The Ultrasound Informed Consent Act will not make it through the Democrat-controlled Congress or be signed into law by pro-abortion President Joe Biden, but could potentially be used by pro-lifers to highlight its opponents’ extremism on abortion.