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Fri February 18, 2011
Commentary: Ultrasound Bill casts glimpse inside abortion debate
By Richard Nelson
Murray, KY – UPDATE: According to the Lexington Herald Leader, Senate Bill 9 and three other measures were struck down in the House Health and Welfare Committee yesterday (Thursday) afternoon. Advocates of the bill decry the liberal-leaning committee, which consists of 10 Democrats and 6 Republicans. Representative David Floyd, who added the abortion measures to the bills, believes if they were put up to a full House vote, more than 60 members would pass the measure.
Senate Bill 9 - also known as The Ultrasound Bill - was introduced in the 2011 Kentucky General Assembly with several other measures that would strengthen the state's abortion laws. This particular bill would require a physician to perform an ultrasound on a woman before the abortion and to display the images so that she may view them. Commentator Richard Nelson says opposition to this bill casts a glimpse inside the abortion debate at the Kentucky State Capitol.
It isn't often that a piece of legislation comes along and exposes rhetoric so hollow that it results in the systemic collapse of an argument. Such is the case with The Ultrasound Bill recently introduced in the 2011 Kentucky General Assembly.
For years, abortion supporters have circled the wagons around the idea of "choice," aiming to convince the uninitiated that abortion is "a difficult decision that should be between a woman and her doctor and ultimately a choice only the woman should make." That's the line anyway. But what do you do with an abortionist who doesn't want women to have all the information before they make that "difficult decision"?
This is why SB 9 The Ultrasound Bill, has passed the Senate by landslide margins in each of the past four sessions. The latest effort, which passed the Senate on Jan. 6 by a vote of 32-5, simply mandates that abortionists give a woman an opportunity to see an ultrasound picture of her unborn child. It doesn't force the woman to look. Nor is she coerced or penalized if she doesn't. The bill also bans late-term abortions and exacts heavy fines on abortionists who skirt the law and keep valuable information from their patients.
Ultrasound technology gives us a glimpse inside the womb, but ultrasound legislation casts a glimpse inside the abortion debate. And it is becoming clear that some choices are simply unacceptable to self-designated "pro-choicers," especially if that choice might result in life.
This is reminiscent of the controversy over Madonna's 80's hit Papa Don't Preach. The song so perturbed the abortion crowd because she vowed to "keep her baby," which left them concerned that pregnant teens might actually follow her lead. Mandating ultrasound availability could do the same thing, but how choosing life for an unborn child would be bad has yet to be explained.
Last year, 1.2 million babies were aborted in this country. Many women come to regret their decision, wishing that they had more information and better counsel. Of course, an abortionist's best allies are disinformation and obfuscation.
Shouldn't we be just as angry at those who prefer to keep women in the dark as the abortionist in Philadelphia who kept his illegal practice out of the public spotlight for 18 years? Kermit Gosnell was arrested in January for practicing late-term abortions on six-, seven- and eight-month-old pre-born babies and committing infanticide on those born alive. It's people like the $15,000-profit-per-day Gosnell who'd prefer to keep the public attention off his grisly practices, but what about the practices going on inside Kentucky's two remaining abortion clinics?
Who could be opposed to forcing an abortionist to at least make an ultrasound available to a woman in his office?
Answer: Kentucky House Leadership which has been beholden to their Party's pro-abortion wing for the last six years - killing all pro-life legislation passed by the Senate.
The Ultrasound Bill has deadlocked twice in Tom "if-you-send-it-to-my-committee-I-will kill-it" Burch's Health and Welfare Committee. He publicly announced he'd kill the bill in 2009; killed it again in 2010; and he will kill it this year if the Leadership sends it there.
Twenty-one states have some kind of law requiring abortionists to offer women an ultrasound before allowing an abortion. Isn't it time for Kentucky to ensure that women have this choice?
As for the "pro- choicers" who want to avoid an identity crisis, can they do anything but support the bill if they want to live up to their name?
Richard Nelson is a policy analyst for The Family Foundation, a nonprofit public policy organization. He currently resides in Trigg County with his family. The views expressed in this commentary are the opinion of the commentator and don't necessarily reflect the views of WKMS.