Abortion foes say ultrasound measures new push

A national abortion group is pushing legislation in states aimed at making sure pregnant women and girls view sonograms before having abortions, hoping that what they see will persuade them against having the procedure.

Such proposals have gained little attention so far from lawmakers in Kansas or Missouri. But the National Right to Life Committee says 11 states have enacted laws requiring abortion providers to tell patients they have the right to see an ultrasound image of the embryo or fetus they’re carrying.

Right to Life had its annual, three-day convention in Kansas City this week, attracting more than 1,000 leaders of local and state anti-abortion groups from across the nation. Mary Balch, director of the group’s state legislative efforts, predicted that ultrasound legislation will be a growing trend.

“We believe the more information a woman has about the development of a child, the more likely she is to choose life,” Balch said.

Critics see such legislation as an attempt by anti-abortion activists to have the state interfere in decisions between patients and doctors.

“It’s her pregnancy. It’s her decision. It’s part of her health care. A decision to have an abortion is very personal, very private, very close to the heart,” said Julie Burkhart, lobbyist for the Kansas abortion rights group ProKanDo.