Lawmaker targets elective abortions

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SALT LAKE CITY --A conservative Utah lawmaker wants more women to see ultrasound images of their fetuses before they decide to end their pregnancy because he believes fewer would choose to abort.

Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, is sponsoring a bill to amend the state's informed consent laws. Wimmer says his proposed informed consent bill would clarify -- not change -- the rules on how abortions are conducted, as similar bills have in other states.

Currently, women planning abortions must be told they have the right to view an ultrasound.

Wimmer's proposal would require the images to be displayed so that the woman can see them if she wants.

If that option is chosen, the person performing the ultrasound would be required to provide a detailed description of what is on the screen, including the dimensions of the fetus, description of its heart and presence of other organs and external body parts.

Wimmer's HB200 would restrict elective abortions to the physical health of the mother, not her mental health. It also would require the doctor to conduct a free ultrasound of the fetus, if the woman agrees.

Planned Parenthood's Karrie Galloway calls Wimmer's proposal unnecessary. "These are more hoops for women to jump through," she said. "But in this case, Planned Parenthood's problem with the changes of the informed consent is the cost of the legislation."

Planned Parenthood predicts the bill will cost the state health department more money when it already faces budget cuts.

Story compiled with contributions from Richard Piatt, The Deseret News and The Associated Press.

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