Abortion foes installed ultrasound equipment in a meeting room at Idaho’s Capitol on March 21, 2012 and preformed live ultrasound procedures on six pregnant women, according to press reports.
The ultrasound procedures at the state Capitol were organized by Brandi Swindell, a Boise, Idaho resident and anti-abortion activist, in support of Senate bill 1387 which requires women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound first.
Senate Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder (R) introduced the bill mandating the ultrasound procedure, and on March 19 the Senate passed the proposed legislation 23-12. Idaho’s Republican controlled House is scheduled to take up the bill.
Currently, Idaho requires women seeking an abortion to be given the option of an ultrasound, but it is not mandated.
Those opposed to the bill say Republicans who typically espouse limited government are encroaching on the doctor's office. They say Senate Bill 1387 is so extreme it provides no exceptions for medical emergencies, rape or incest.
The ultrasounds conducted in the Capitol were conducted on the women's abdomens, not using the more-invasive vaginal ultrasound equipment employed by many doctors for women whose fetuses are less than 10 weeks old. The women were shielded from the audience by a bamboo divider as an ultrasound technologist ran a sensor over the participants’ bellies and the images were shown on three projector screens.
Bill sponsors say women who are considering terminating a pregnancy will be less likely to proceed with an abortion once they see an image of the fetus and hears its heartbeat.