Guest Opinions

Idaho’s ultrasound law will save lives

In a landmark decision regarding abortion procedures, the U.S. Supreme Court wrote:

“Whether to have an abortion requires a difficult and painful moral decision, which some women come to regret. … The State has an interest in ensuring so grave a choice is well informed. It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know.” (Gonzalez v. Carhart, 2007)

Idaho’s new Ultrasound Information Act provides women with important information before an abortion, so they might avoid the profound grief and sorrow mentioned by the court — which comes from learning truth after it’s too late. If a woman is to have any real choice regarding abortion, she must be allowed access to all relevant facts about her unborn child, and her condition. The opportunity to have a free ultrasound will enhance her right to make a truly informed decision.

Some pregnancy care centers across Idaho charitably offer free ultrasounds and counseling — and have done so for years. Idaho’s law requires abortion clinics to provide a list of these free ultrasound centers to women considering abortions. The law, however, does not require an ultrasound before an abortion.

The law will save some preborn babies from abortion. A Focus on the Family study reports, “[w]omen who are considering having an abortion are much more likely to carry the baby to term after viewing the ultrasound. Ultrasounds have a profound effect on the pregnant mother, and the use of ultrasounds for viewing the unborn child is certainly lifesaving. The numbers speak for themselves.”

Other studies and reports provide similar conclusions. The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and CBS News all found at least some women will choose to keep their babies to term once they’ve seen an ultrasound.

Clearly, Idaho’s law will save lives and avoid grief for many women because abortion clinics do not currently provide free ultrasounds. Planned Parenthood charges between $249 and $298 for an ultrasound and will not do one unless the woman has already selected abortion. Many women do not have the ability to pay for an ultrasound, but this law gives them the opportunity to obtain and see an ultrasound for free if they wish.

Abortion advocates often say we need to trust women. But truly informed consent requires accurate and complete information. This law ensures women of knowing such information is available to them for no cost. You can see the information now provided on the Idaho DHW website:

The Ultrasound Information Act is a simple but very important law saving some women much grief and sorrow, and more important, saving some preborn babies from being killed. All life is precious, and the ultrasound pictures speak for themselves. All women can now do as our savior instructed, “Behold your little ones.”

Republican Ronald M. Nate, of Rexburg, is a member of the Idaho House of Representatives, District 34-A.