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TN Lawmakers Set to Debate New 'Ultrasound Bill'

Proposed legislation would require women in Tennessee to consider viewing the ultrasound of their fetus before having an abortion. (redjar/
Proposed legislation would require women in Tennessee to consider viewing the ultrasound of their fetus before having an abortion. (redjar/
February 8, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Women in Tennessee would be forced to consider viewing an ultrasound picture of their fetus before receiving an abortion, if a bill before a state House subcommittee is ultimately passed.

The Ultrasound Right to Know Act also would require women to sign a form saying they were offered the ability to hear their fetus' heartbeat and see its image before an abortion is performed.

Currently, abortion providers typically require ultrasounds before every abortion, but Jeff Teague, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, says it's between a woman and her doctor whether the results are reviewed before the procedure.

"This bill would prescribe the standard of care,” he points out. “That interferes in the doctor-patient relationship and really ties the doctor's hands to decide what is the best course of treatment and standard of care when dealing with a patient."

The House Health Subcommittee will consider the bill on Tuesday. Similar legislation was proposed last year.

Half of all states have some provision regulating abortions and ultrasounds, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy and research organization. But it says only three states mandate that a woman receive an ultrasound and see the image before the procedure is performed.

Supporters of such legislation say it is needed to protect the rights of the unborn child.

Teague says the bill violates the rights of women and interferes with a private and personal matter.

"The intention of the bill is not to provide women with any additional information, to give them any more information that will help them make really informed decisions, but instead is designed to demean and shame women," he maintains.

According to RH Reality Check, a reproductive and sexual health advocacy site, there have been 147 “anti-choice” bills introduced in state legislatures so far this year, and at least 69 percent of them were sponsored by men.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN