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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

 12:29 PM 

Debate begins on bill mandating ultrasounds in abortions

Democrats have drafted amendments attempting to lessen the impacts of a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound of the unborn child.

The original bill would have required a doctor to perform an ultrasound and provide visualization of a fetal heartbeat in a form "consistent with current medical practice." Democrats argued that language could require a transvaginal ultrasound -- something viewed by abortion rights advocates as intrusive -- rather than an abdominal ultrasound. As a response, the Committee on Health and Human Services drafted a bill that would clarify the language.

The bill does not require the woman to view the ultrasound, but it does require the doctor to perform and explain the ultrasound. The ultrasounds are not required in the cases of emergency abortions or in cases of rape or incest.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, argued that the original intent of the bill was to limit a woman's options and "take away the rights" of a woman seeking an abortion to make a decision for herself.

"It's not the right of special interests ... or of a particular senator, to foist their morals, to force their religious views on the rest of the state," Erpenbach said. "It has no business being in this state. It tells a woman she is not capable to think on her own."

Bill author Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, argued that the amendment clarified that a woman could choose the method of the ultrasound if it produces a visualization of the fetal heartbeat. She also said that her only intent was provide adequate health care to women.

"If you have a loved one that is going to terminate, you want that loved one to have the best health care available," Lazich said. "There's not woman a should have a lesser standard of care."

So far, several amendments drafted by Erpenbach have been defeated on party line votes.


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