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NRL News
Page 9
June 2010
Volume 37
Issue 6

West Virginia’s Ultrasound Option Bill Now Law

On May 17, pro-life West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin signed the Ultrasound Option Bill into law. S.B. 597 passed overwhelmingly in both Houses. West Virginia has become the 20th state to pass ultrasound legislation.

Ultrasound offers the mother an unbiased window to the womb,” said Mary Balch, J.D., NRLC director of state legislation. “It is reasonable, accurate information which a woman should have prior to making this life and death decision.”

The new law strengthens West Virginia’s Women’s Right to Know Law, which provides that 24 hours prior to their abortion, women and girls are presented scientifically accurate information about fetal development, abortion alternatives, risks from abortion and childbirth, and a list of agencies in the state that would help her carry her child to term.

S.B. 597 adds significantly to these materials. If an ultrasound is done in conjunction with an abortion, women and girls will be told they may view or decline to view the ultrasound. Prior to the abortion, the woman would sign a form acknowledging the offer to view the image.

Such information is essential. Women often come to regret their abortion decision because they later learn information withheld from them at the time of their abortion.

Information empowers women to make informed choices,” said Karen Cross, West Virginians for Life president. “Ultrasound legislation protects the mother’s right to see her unborn child in real-time ultrasound. Because the decision to have an abortion is such a major one, legislators recognized that the state should guarantee the mother access to information relevant to her decision.”

Cross praised the legislature’s action. “I am so proud of our pro-life legislators in West Virginia,” she said. “Because of their dedication and persistence, women and girls may be spared a lifetime of regret.”