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Ill. House Committee Approves Bill Requiring Ultrasounds Before Abortion

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An opponent and a supporter of abortion rights demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (Credit: AP)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois state lawmakers who oppose abortion are trying to make it harder for women to make the decision to abort.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Keith Johnson reports, the House Agriculture Committee has approved legislation that would force a woman to view an ultrasound image before getting an abortion, or decline to do so in writing.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Keith Johnson reports


That legislation, HB 4085, passed by out of committee by a vote of 11-2, the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette reported.

The only lawmakers on the committee voted against the bill were Reps. Deborah Mell (D-Chicago) and Naomi Jakobsson (D-Champaign).

The News-Gazette reports Jakobsson asked the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Joseph Lyons (D-Chicago), if the goal of the bill was to discourage a woman from having an abortion by making her view an ultrasound.

Lyons, who is against abortion, replied that the goal is to give “a human face to the procedure,” where the women see a heartbeat and realize that it’s not “just a procedure like getting your tonsils out,” the News-Gazette reported. The newspaper reports Lyons went on to say, “If it saves one life, Naomi, is that a bad thing?”

Mell criticized the assignment of the bill to a committee that is supposed to handle farming issues,.

“We’re not talking about abortions for cows and pigs, right? We’re talking about women?” she said.

A controversial bill now up for a vote in Virginia would require women to view an ultrasound before getting an abortion. That bill is drawing particular criticism for its requirement that some women undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound probe.

A similar law is already on the books in Texas, where a woman must undergo a sonogram and hear a doctor’s verbal description of what she is seeing – and even ask the patient if she wants to hear the fetal heartbeat – before an abortion can be performed.

The Illinois House Agriculture committee also approved a companion bill, HB 4117, which would require any clinic that provides 50 or more abortions a year to stricter health standards than currently required, the News-Gazette reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union tells the newspaper the legislation could mean many women’s health clinics could end up closing.

The Agriculture Committee is dominated by downstate conservatives. Last year, the same committee approved a bill that would have permitted Illinois residents to carry concealed weapons, but the bill ended up failing when it came up for a full state House vote.

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