Lankford, Colleagues Want Moms to Have Access to Ultrasounds So They Can Choose Life
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS) and their colleagues introduced the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act , which among other provisions, would require abortion providers to perform an obstetric ultrasound and make audible the live heartbeat of an unborn baby before a woman gives informed consent to an abortion.
“Pregnant mothers should have access to as much information as we can give them about their unborn children, including an ultrasound,” said Lankford. “President Biden is obsessed with abortion. Progressives in the Senate recently pushed a bill to increase abortion, to mandate that every state allow abortion on demand until birth, and make it illegal for a medical professional to share medical information on the baby, like an ultrasound, with pregnant mothers. That is tragic and wrong. The goal of pro-abortion lawmakers is to hide medical information from moms to increase abortions. When a mother sees her baby—a person with a heartbeat, ten fingers, ten toes, and unique DNA from his or her mother—she will know more about her child before making a decision that will take the life of her child.”
“As an OBGYN who delivered thousands of babies, I never imagined I would be fighting harder in the Senate than I did in the ER and delivery room to protect mothers and babies,” said Marshall. “I’m proud to lead on legislation that strikes at the abortion industry’s efforts to keep the truth from women by requiring mothers to be informed of their baby’s development and hear their heartbeat before consenting to an abortion. As a healthcare provider, it’s the least you can do to protect the safety and wellbeing of women and their unborn children.”
Lankford and Marshall are joined in introducing this bill by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Rick Scott (R-FL).
Advocacy groups who have endorsed the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act include the National Pro-Life Alliance, National Right to Life, March for Life, Susan B. Anthony List, Students for Life, Family Research Council, Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Catholic Medical Association.
“An ultrasound is one of the most powerful tools for humanizing the unborn. In fact, one study showed that up to 78% of abortion-minded mothers chose life after seeing an ultrasound of their child. By guaranteeing that mothers see their unborn children and hear their little hearts beating, the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act has the potential to save thousands of innocent lives,” said Martin Fox, President of the National Pro-Life Alliance.
“Since Roe v. Wade was poorly decided in 1973, science has progressed tremendously, offering a window into the womb. An ultrasound is a crucial tool that allows a pregnant mother to see the development, movement, and even personality of her preborn son or daughter, proving the child is much more than a “clump of cells.” Too often, we hear stories of abortion facility employees denying women the opportunity to see their ultrasound, dismissing the preborn child as “nothing.” This prevents women from making fully informed decisions that affect their health and wellbeing, and even coerces women into choosing abortion based on deceptive or incomplete information. That is why we fully support Senator Marshall’s Ultrasound Informed Consent Act. If the pro-abortion movement really cared about women’s empowerment, they would advocate for women to be well-informed about the realities of abortion, and that includes allowing a mother to see her preborn baby before making a permanent life or death decision,” said Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life Action.
“Every individual has the undeniable right to informed consent in order to understand the impact of any potential medical intervention. This critically important bill asserts this right for any woman at a time she needs it most. The right to know is the basic element of informed consent; the right to see and hear proof of the presence of a new and living person leads to the understanding that every woman deserves. The CMA strongly supports this bill and its recognition of the inherent rights of both the woman and her baby,” said Tim Millea, M.D., Chairman, Catholic Medical Association Health Care Policy Committee.
“Every woman deserves to know that her developing baby has a heartbeat, has fingers and toes, and can feel pain by 15 weeks if not earlier – all facts that the abortion industry would rather hide from her. Science and technology have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that unborn children are human beings, giving us an unprecedented window into life in the womb. As a doctor who has delivered thousands of babies, Sen. Marshall knows abortion is not health care and it destroys rather than heals. We thank him for leading the charge to protect both unborn children and their mothers and we urge all our pro-life Senate allies to support this legislation,” said Marilyn Musgrave, Vice President of Government Affairs, Susan B. Anthony List.
“National Right to Life commends Sen. Roger Marshall for introducing this important legislation to protect women and their unborn children. As a physician, Sen. Marshall understands that mothers need as much information as possible before making the life and death decision of abortion for her unborn child. History shows that if women are given the opportunity to review all of the facts about abortion, especially when given a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child, they are less likely to have an abortion,” said Jennifer Popik, Director of Federal Legislation, National Right to Life.
“Ultrasounds provide a window to the womb where a mother has the opportunity to see the unborn child growing within her—to see her tiny fingers and toes and to hear her little heart beating. It is only after seeing the miracle of life in her womb that a mother can truly make an informed decision, which we pray is a decision to choose life. We are grateful to Sen. Marshall for being a voice for mothers and their children and for respecting the intelligence of women by ensuring they are provided with all the information necessary for informed consent.” said Mary Szoch, Director of the Center for Human Dignity, Family Research Council.
The Ultrasound Informed Consent Act would require abortion providers to conduct an ultrasound before performing an abortion.
Specifically, before a woman gives informed consent to any part of an abortion, the abortion provider must;
- perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman;
- provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting;
- display the ultrasound images so the woman may view them;
- make audible the live heart auscultation and provide a verbal explanation of it; and
- provide a complete medical description of the images, including the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, cardiac activity if present and visible, and the presence of arms, legs, external members, and internal organs if present and viewable, and provide a copy of the ultrasound image to the woman.
As a condition of receiving any federal funds or assistance, an abortion provider shall perform and review an ultrasound before performing an abortion.
Providers are subject to civil actions and penalties for violations.
The bill’s ultrasound requirements do not apply in cases where a physical disorder, illness, or injury caused by the pregnancy endangers a woman’s life. A woman is also not required to view the ultrasound images, nor may she or the provider be penalized if she declines to do so.