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Eye On Boise

Bill would require women seeking abortions to be referred to providers of free ultrasounds

The House State Affairs Committee, on a party-line vote, has agreed to introduce legislation this morning sponsored by Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, to require women seeking abortions to be provided with a state-compiled list of providers who could provide them with free ultrasounds, and told they have a right to a free ultrasound and to hear a fetal heart monitor . “She has a right to view an ultrasound image,” Nate told the committee. “This is a simple but very important bill. Truly informed consent requires accurate and complete information. This bill would make sure that women know this information is available to them.”

Several committee members questioned the availability of free ultrasounds, and how qualified providers of those might be. Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, said, “I am a board member of Open Arms Pregnancy Care Center and Real Choices Clinic in Coeur d’Alene, and we have offered free ultrasounds since its inception in 2001, and we are one of several in this state that do so. I’m going to support this bill.”

Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, questioned the need for the bill. “I know that if I were to go to a medical provider for an abortion, there’s an ultrasound that’s already part of the process,” she said.

Introduction of the bill was approved on a voice vote, clearing the way for a full hearing; those voting “no” were the committee’s four Democrats, Reps. Wintrow, Jordan, McCrostie and Smith.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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