Corbett says he supports 'external' ultrasounds for abortion patients

Gov. Corbett says he supports mandatory ultrasounds for abortion patients, the subject of one of the most controversial pieces of legislation before the General Assembly.

Corbett said Tuesday he would support a bill that would force doctors to show women an ultrasound before an abortion is performed as long as it was not "obtrusive."

When asked what he meant by that, Corbett said: "As long as it's on the exterior and not the interior."

While sponsor Rep. Kathy Rapp (R., Forest) said her bill would require only ultrasounds on the belly, the language of the bill suggests it could also mandate a vaginal ultrasound, if the embryo is too small to be seen. (For more background read Marie McCullough's piece in the Inquirer here.)

The bill, which passed out of a House committee last month, was scheduled for a vote on the House floor this week.

The vote was cancelled in the House after objections were made by the Pennsylvania Medical Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists. House Majority leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) said lawmakers needed more time to study the issue.

The issue has been a flashpoint across the nation as anti-abortion groups have pushed similar bills - with success - in dozens of other states. Abortion rights supporters view the laws as demeaning and unnecessary.

Planned Parenthood says belly ultrasounds are routinely conducted on patients, but are done to determine the age of the fetus and what procedure to use, not to make them change their mind.

Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau is the latest to weigh in with a series of strips on the ultrasound issue, sparking controversy that led to several newspapers, including the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, to suspend his strip.


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