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Abortion amendment passes in Senate

The Senate added an amendment to a health care bill Wednesday that would require women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion in a heated 22-17 vote.

“I just don’t see the problem with having someone have a little more information before they make a decision,” said Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami.

The measure also requires that the woman view the live ultrasound images. If the woman chooses not to view the ultrasound images, she must complete a form expressing that she declined to view the images of her own free will. Women who have been raped would be exempted, but they must first provide evidence that the crime occurred.

“I join women who say we are not little girls. We are adult women and we are making decisions. We can walk into a clinic and we can make a decision and we are not afraid of information,” said Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico. “What this amendment does, it says I have a right to know all of the consequences.”

A handful of moderate Republicans questioned the measure.

During an earlier debate about whether the state should challenge the federal health care bill, Sen. Nancy Detert compared the two measures, “Since we are against being forced to buy health care, are we still forced to purchase an ultrasound?”

Democrats called the provision shameful because it infringes on women’s rights and could make abortions cost prohibitive for women who cannot afford an ultrasound.

“If we are talking about less government and more personal freedom why would we require a procedure that is not medically necessary?” said Sen. Chris Smith.

“It is actually, to me, the ultimate insult to women,” said Sen. Nan Rich. “It is saying that women can’t make up their own minds, can’t use their own judgment as to what they want to do with their bodies.”