April 23, 2012 — A Louisiana Senate committee last week approved a bill (SB 708) that would require a woman seeking abortion care to have an ultrasound and listen to the fetal heartbeat at least 24 hours before the abortion procedure, Baton Rouge Advocate reports. The bill now goes to the full Senate for debate (Baton Rouge Advocate, 4/19).
According to the AP/Lafourche Parish Daily Comet, the state already requires that a woman undergo an ultrasound and be asked if she wants to view the image and receive a copy of it before an abortion (AP/Lafourche Parish Daily Comet, 4/18).
State Sen. Sharon Broome (D), who sponsored the bill, said medical personnel would have to simultaneously show the woman the ultrasound screen and make audible the fetal heartbeat, unless the women specifically objected (Baton Rouge Advocate, 4/19).
The committee amended the bill so that women could sign a form stating that they do not want to listen to the fetal heartbeat. The committee also added a provision that would exempt survivors of rape or incest from the ultrasound requirement (AP/Lafourche Parish Daily Comet, 4/18).