Friday, May 18, 2007

South Carolina passes abortion compromise

~from LA Chronicle

Women seeking an abortion in South Carolina would be able, but not required, to view an ultrasound first under a compromise bill that received approval Wednesday in the state Senate.

The legislation is a softer version of a proposal that passed in the House in March that would have required women to view the images.

The compromise, passed on a voice vote without debate, would also require women to reflect on the image they saw. It meant to maximize the time between a woman seeing her ultrasound, if she chooses, and her scheduled abortion.

'The point is to have a period of reflection,' said Republican Sen. Mike Fair, a sponsor of the measure. 'This is as good as we could do, and we think it's reasonable.'

Supporters think women might change their minds after seeing an ultrasound and choose to keep the child or offer it for adoption. Critics consider it a way to intimidate women who already have made an agonizing decision.

'I still believe that's an intrusion, and I am concerned about the constitutional question,' said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a Democrat.

State law already requires abortion providers to tell women the likely age of their fetus and provide them with information about fetal development and alternatives to abortion. Women must have at least an hour to consider that information before terminating a pregnancy.

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