Arkansas lawmakers OK ultrasound requirement for abortions

The Associated Press
Arkansas lawmakers voted to require a woman undergoing an abortion to first view an ultrasound, the latest restriction to advance in a state that has already enacted an outright abortion ban. This image shows an urn containing the remains of Isabell Martinez, who died at 21 weeks in utero, sits on a shelf alongside her handprints and a footprint and an ultrasound photo in the home of her parents, Jacqueline and Bryan Martinez, in Phoenix on March 4, 2021. Isabell had a genetic disorder and would not survive outside the womb. Her parents made the decision to have a late-term abortion.

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas lawmakers on Monday voted to require a woman undergoing an abortion to first view an ultrasound, the latest restriction to advance in a state that has already enacted an outright abortion ban.

The majority-Republican House voted 74-14 for the requirement and sent it to GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The state Senate approved the measure earlier this month. Similar requirements are in place in Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Arkansas already requires doctors who use an ultrasound before an abortion to offer to show the image to the woman undergoing the procedure. In addition to being shown the ultrasound, the proposal would also require doctors to provide a verbal description to the woman.

The legislation wouldn't prevent women from looking away from the images and would not apply to a medical emergency.

The bill was approved weeks after Hutchinson signed into law legislation that bans nearly all abortions in the state. Abortion rights supporters have vowed to block the measure before it takes effect later this summer.