South Carolina Bill No Longer Requires Ultrasound for Women Seeking Abortions

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A legislative panel on Thursday dropped a measure from an abortion bill that would have made South Carolina the only state to require women to review an ultrasound images of the fetus before terminating a pregnancy.

"It's not forcing a woman to do something against her will," said Sen. Linda Short, the only woman in the Senate and a member of the subcommittee that dropped the measure.

Short, a Democrat, expects the new version of the bill to easily pass the Senate, leading to a showdown with the House, whose members have passed a version that includes the ultrasound requirement.

The bill's sponsor in the House said the Senate version was unacceptable.

Proponents believe women would change their minds after seeing an ultrasound and choose to keep the child or offer it for adoption. Critics consider it a way to intimidate women who already have made an agonizing decision.

Last week, the attorney general told lawmakers it would be illegal for the state to force a woman to view an ultrasound image against her will.

Some states make ultrasound images available to women before an abortion, but South Carolina would be alone if it mandated women see the images.

The Senate subcommittee unanimously approved the amended bill, which now heads to the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.