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Marshall to introduce legislation restricting abortion before first heartbeat, contradicting Texas law

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Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 3:53 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A U.S. Senator from Kansas has signaled he will introduce legislation requiring audible heartbeats before a pregnant woman is able to give legal consent for an abortion as Texas’ law banning abortions after the first heartbeat remains untouched by the Supreme Court.

U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says on Thursday, March 10, he will introduce the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act, which would require abortion providers to perform an obstetric ultrasound and make audible the live heartbeat in a pregnancy before a woman can give informed consent to an abortion.

“As an OBGYN who delivered thousands of babies, I never imagined I would be fighting harder in the Senate than I did in the ER and delivery room to protect mothers and babies,” said Sen. Marshall. “I’m proud to lead on legislation that strikes at the abortion industry’s efforts to keep the truth from women by requiring mothers to be informed of their baby’s development and hear their heartbeat before consenting to an abortion. As a healthcare provider, it’s the least you can do to protect the safety and wellbeing of women and their unborn children.”

Marshall said the legislation would require abortion providers to conduct an ultrasound before an abortion is performed. Specifically, he said before a woman is able to give informed consent to any part of an abortion the provider must do the following:

  • Perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman
  • Provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting
  • Display the ultrasound images so the woman may view them
  • Make audible the live heartbeat and provide a verbal explanation of it
  • Provide a complete medical description of the images, including the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, cardiac activity if present and visible, and the presence of arms, legs, external members and internal organs if present and viewable, as well as provide a copy of the ultrasound image to the woman

As a condition of getting any federal funds or help, Marshall said an abortion provider will be required to perform and review an ultrasound before performing the abortion. Providers will also be subject to civil actions and penalties for violations.

Marshall said the bill’s ultrasound requirements would not apply in cases where a physical disorder, illness or injury caused by the pregnancy endangers a woman’s life. He said a woman is also not required to view the ultrasound images, nor can she or the provider be penalized if she declines to do so.

Planned Parenthood states a heart does not start beating until the pregnancy is between five and six weeks along in the first trimester. Meaning the legislation would contradict the law already being contested in Texas banning abortions after that point.

In October 2021, the Supreme Court allowed the Texas law banning abortions after 6 weeks - or after the first heartbeat is heard - to remain in place after it was highly contested for its excruciating restrictions and agreed to hear arguments about it in November.

However, last month, the Court said it would not speed up the ongoing case and declined to order a federal appeals court to return the case to a federal judge who had temporarily blocked the law’s enforcement.

Thus, the Texas law is likely to remain in effect for the foreseeable future.

Cosponsors of Marshall’s ultrasound bill include Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.).

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