Pennsylvania Ultrasound Law: Gov. Tom Corbett Says Just 'Close Your Eyes'

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Pennsylvania Ultrasound Law: Tom Corbett Says Just “Close Your Eyes”
While discussing a mandatory ultrasound bill for women who were thinking of undergoing abortions, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett dismissed claims that it would be too obtrusive.

If Pennsylvania women don't like a mandatory ultrasound before getting abortions, they can just close their eyes, Gov. Tom Corbett says.

I'm not making anybody watch, OK, he said. Because you just have to close your eyes. As long as it's on the exterior and not the interior.

Pennsylvania is one of 10 states to have passed or considering bills requiring women to get an ultrasound before having an abortion, according to the liberal blog ThinkProgress.

Like a law that was considered in the Virginia legislature, Pennsylvania's Women's Right to Know Act would include a transvaginal procedure if done in the first trimester. An amendment to the Virginia bill nixed that procedure after opponents likened it to state-mandated rape and Gov. Bob McDonnell called it invasive, but it still included external jelly-on-the-belly ultrasounds, and was passed.

The Pennsylvania bill is considered one of the most far-reaching because it forces technicians to give women personalized copies of the ultrasounds. Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, told ThinkProgress Pennsylvania bill is strongly encouraging women to view and listen to the ultrasounds.

The Huffington Post's Laura Bassett explains that even if a woman tried to close [her] eyes], the doctor would still be required to turn the ultrasound image toward her face, give her two signed copies of the printed image, describe the number of heartbeats per minute and tell her if that's normal or not for a fetus of that age. She then has to wait 24 hours and bring all the signed paperwork and both ultrasound images to her abortion doctor in order to have the procedure legally, and the doctor has to repeat to her the age of the fetus.

The bill does, however, offer exemptions for victims of rape and incest.

The Women's Right to Know Act has since stalled in the Pennsylvania Legislature, Philly.com reported. The state's House postponed a scheduled March 12 vote due to concerns raised by the medical community, among others.

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