Four Democrats want Rhode Island to require pre-abortion ultrasounds

March 12, 2014

Rhode Island would require that doctors provide women seeking abortions with the opportunity to view an ultrasound under a new bill cosponsored by one Republican and four Democrats, one of them a woman.

The bill would require that, before a woman gets an abortion, the doctor or a technician perform an ultrasound, explain the results and provide the woman with an opportunity to view the resulting images. There is no requirement that the woman view the ultrasound.

Providing such pre-abortion ultrasounds are required in nine other states, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports reproductive rights. Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. Ultrasounds must be displayed and described to women seeking an abortion in Louisiana, Texas and Wisconsin. Similar laws in North Carolina and Oklahoma are no longer in effect due to court order.

The Rhode Island bill’s four Democratic sponsors include Rep. Karen MacBeth. This is the fifth year she’s sponsored such legislation, according to the Associated Press. MacBeth voted in favor of same-sex marriage and has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

“The true intent is to make sure the woman or the girl has all the information before making the decision,” she said, according to the AP.

The state House Judiciary Committee heard testimony for 2.5 hours on Tuesday on a slew of abortion bills, according to The Providence Journal. Seven bills had strong pro-choice support, while five had strong pro-life support.

The bill’s co-sponsors are Democratic Reps. Arthur Corvese, Peter Palumbo and James McLaughlin, as well as Republican Rep. Michael Chippendale.

The January interactive below shows various state abortion restrictions.

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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