A Casper lawmaker wants to require doctors to offer ultrasounds to women seeking abortions.
House Bill 182 would require doctors to inform patients 24 hours before the procedure that they have “a right to view an active ultrasound” of the fetus and to listen to the fetus’ heartbeat if possible.
The woman would be required to sign a form confirming that she had been offered an ultrasound, and that document would be placed in her medical file.
The provision would not apply in cases of medical emergency or for abortions performed following a miscarriage.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, said that ultrasounds are already performed before an abortion and that his bill would simply require doctors to offer women the chance to view an ultrasound.
“This would just allow for an an opportunity for a pregnant woman to have full information,” Gray said in an email.
The talk radio host was elected to the Legislature in November.
Gray said in an email that “an ultrasound is already performed to observe the position of the unborn child or the possibilities of other complications to the women.”
But this is not necessarily true in the case of abortions performed during the first 36 weeks of pregnancy, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
When asked about the discrepancy between that information and his statements, Gray repeated part of his previous answer and did not address the fact that ultrasounds are not always performed during the first trimester.
Neither of the two abortion providers in Wyoming offers abortions after 12 weeks, according to the organization Women for Women.
Six states currently require doctors to offer women the opportunity to view an ultrasound before an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
“Since routine ultrasound is not considered medically necessary as a component of first-trimester abortion, the requirements appear to be a veiled attempt to personify the fetus and dissuade a woman from obtaining an abortion,” Guttmacher, which supports reproductive rights, states on its website.
Several other states require doctors to offer women the opportunity to view an ultrasound only if that procedure is already being performed as part of an abortion.
House Bill 182 is co-sponsored by several other legislators, including Rep. Scott Clem, R-Gillette, and Rep. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, who are backing other bills that would place restrictions on abortion in Wyoming.
Women could be barred from receiving abortions after about 20 weeks and could face felony ch…
Steinmetz is sponsoring House Bill 116, which would bar abortion after around 20 weeks.
Clem is backing House Bill 132, a measure to impose penalties on doctors who fail to report abortions they perform as required under current law.
House Speaker Steve Harshman, R-Casper, is also co-sponsoring Gray’s bill.
The only two publicly listed abortion providers in Wyoming are in Jackson.
All three bills have been referred to the House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee.
Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, answered questions related to House Bill 182 by email. His answers are below. Duplicate sentences have been removed, and questions have been shortened for clarity.
What do you hope House Bill 182 achieves?
The bill seeks to ensure that women have the opportunity to view an ultrasound if they wish. This bill would enhance a woman’s rights by providing an opportunity to view an ultrasound. This would just allow for an opportunity for a pregnant woman to have full information. The bill has broad support—it has 15 cosponsors including the Speaker.
The bill would require women seeking abortions to be offered ultrasounds but would not require them to be performed prior to an abortion. Why?
The medical standard of practice currently already exists--an ultrasound is already performed to observe the position of the unborn child or the possibilities of other complications to the women.
The bill would not require women seeking an abortion to protect their own life to be offered an ultrasound. Why?
The ultrasound has already been performed as stated in testimony when this bill has been brought before, as a standard medical practice. As previously stated, the ultrasound is done to protect the mother as well as view the position of the unborn child. This bill simply states that the woman has the right to be given an opportunity to view an ultrasound.
You ran on a platform opposing government intervention in the life of Wyoming residents. How does this bill square with that?
I ran to protect all the people’s rights in life, liberty and property. I believe that a woman should have the opportunity to receive ultrasound information if she wishes.