Florida’s mandatory-ultrasound bill passed one last hurdle today before its final vote, which is scheduled for tomorrow.
Final changes to Senate Bill 1744 included an amendment that would conform the Senate bill to House language that allowed a woman to sign a waiver if they do not want to see an ultrasound or hear a description of an ultrasound before receiving an abortion.
As the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, explained, “They don’t have to view it and they don’t have to hear the description if they sign the form.”
Original versions of the legislation required the woman seeking the procedure to hear the description without the option of a waiver. However, they were able to decline viewing the ultrasound.
Those opposed to the bill do not see the need for such legislation, and fear it might raise the cost of an abortion. Storms explained that an ultrasound is already “part of operating procedure” during the procedure. This further raised concerns about whether there was a need for the bill.
Storms said her reason for sponsoring the bill is to make sure that women in Florida are aware that they have the option to view an ultrasound.
Storms has not been silent about her disapproval of abortion providers. During committee discussions of the bill she explained that abortion providers were “disengaged” and did not “view the baby as a baby.”
She echoed similar sentiment today when she was asked about standard operating procedure for abortions in the state.
She explained what she read on the websites of the clinics providing the service. She said that the clinics use ultrasounds “in order to determine the gestational age of the baby — except they don’t say ‘baby,’ they say ‘fetus.’”
A similar bill measure made it through the state legislature during last year’s spring legislative session, but was vetoed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist said such legislation would “place an inappropriate burden on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.”