News Release: Legislation Allowing Choice to See Ultrasound Image Prior to Abortion Overwhelmingly Passes House

May 24, 2005

(LANSING)—Michigan Catholic Conference today praised the passage of legislation that will offer women the choice whether or not to see an ultrasound photograph of their unborn child prior to procuring an abortion.

“Thanks to advancements in technology, House Bill 4446 presents an opportunity for those on both sides of the life issue to come together in support of legislation that in no way restricts access to abortion, yet offers the real prospect of decreasing the number of abortions in Michigan,” said Michigan Catholic Conference pro-life associate Kristen Cella. “We praise those Republican and Democrat legislators who voted in favor of the bill, and for giving women true choice of whether or not to proceed with an abortion.”

House Bill 4446, sponsored by state representative Dave Robertson, would require physicians to perform an ultrasound on a patient and allow her the option to view the ultrasound image before performing the abortion. Currently, abortion providers perform an ultrasound in the abortion process to determine the gestational age of the child to establish which abortion procedure to use. Several women testified during a House Health Policy Committee hearing that, while an ultrasound was performed prior to their abortion, they were either not offered the chance to see the image or were denied the opportunity to view the image upon request.

Michigan Catholic Conference staff testified during the hearing that existing language in the bill requiring a 24-hour waiting period following the ultrasound would present constitutional problems of undue burden for the woman and should be deleted. That language was amended from the bill prior to its passage, ensuring no barriers to the actual abortion process are contained in the legislation.

“This is a common-sense measure that brings true choice to the abortion issue,” said Cella. “Women should have the legal option to see their child before making the critical decision to obtain an abortion.”

HB 4446 passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, 69–37, and now heads to a Senate committee for consideration.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.

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