Pre-abortion sonogram description required by Alabama bill


Rebecca Rakowitz

A state senator from Tuscaloosa has proposed a bill in the Alabama legislature that would require women seeking abortions to hear a detailed description of the embryo or fetus during a sonogram.

Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, proposed the Ultrasound Access Act which states that abortion is a life-taking tragedy.

“Every year tens of thousands of viable unborn children are aborted for no other reason than a minor physical disability or the small inconvenience which would be involved in placing that child in a loving home,” the bill reads.  

The bill requires that the abortion provider give the woman a current sonogram, a description of all “relevant features” of the sonogram, a description of the child’s nerve endings and their ability to feel pain, information on her pregnancy at large, information regarding side effects of abortion, alternatives to abortion, as well as telling her how much they are paid for the procedure at least 48 hours before an abortion.

“Nothing in this act shall be construed to prevent the pregnant woman from not listening to the sounds detected by the fetal heart monitor, or from not viewing the images displayed on the ultrasound screen,” the bill said.

Violation of the proposed law would result in up to 10 years in jail and/or up to $1 million fines for each violation.

The law would not apply if an abortion is performed to save the life of the mother or another unborn child. 

A similar law in North Carolina was shut down by an appellate court in 2014. The court held that forcing doctors to say certain things violates their First Amendment rights and commandeers the doctor-patient relationship.

According to the Tuscaloosa News, the Senate Health Committee will hold a public hearing regarding the bill on Wednesday.