Abortion rights groups vow to stop ultrasounds bill

04/09/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Yesterday in Tallahassse, the Senate Health Regulation Committee approved legislation requiring ultrasounds prior to an abortion in the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. A similar bill passed in the House last week on a 70-45 vote, led by Tampa Republican Trey Traviesa.

The Senate bill is being sponsored by Winter Park Republican Daniel Webster. “What’s the difference between the last six months and the first three? It’s just a matter of where that fetus in the development is," Webster said. "And this is an opportunity to see first hand. … This is better information than a piece of paper.”

Speaking to the committee in opposition were representatives from the Florida National Organization for Women and from Florida Planned Parenthood.

Jessica Lowe, the lobbyist for the Florida National Organization for Women, says her group is against the bill for several reasons, including that it will make an abortion more expensive.

Another concern that Florida NOW has is that the bill provides an exception from viewing requirements for women who are victims of rape, incest and sexual assault – the problem is that it requires documentation, according to Lowe.

The legislation is by no means a sure thing at this time. It still must be approved by the Senate.

If it were to get through that chamber, it still would need the signature of Gov. Charlie Crist.

Adrian Kimmel, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said his group will put maximum pressure on Crist to veto the ultrasound bill if it reaches his desk.

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