Missouri abortion clinics will face new mandates to offer women ultrasound images and heartbeats of their fetuses as a result of legislation allowed to become law Wednesday by Gov. Jay Nixon.
-- From "Missouri Governor Lets Abortion Law Take Effect" by David A. Lieb, Associated Press 7/14/10
The Democratic governor, facing his first decision on an abortion bill, sidestepped a direct endorsement of the new requirements by citing a Missouri constitutional provision allowing bills to become law without the governor's signature.
The legislation [SB793] is part of a national trend among abortion opponents to encourage women to reconsider their decisions through the use of modern medical technology.
Missouri law already requires a woman to be told of the physical and psychological risks at least 24 hours before undergoing an abortion. The new law will require consultation in person instead of over the phone and mandate that women receive a description of the "anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child."
It also requires abortion providers to offer women the chance to view an ultrasound and listen to the heartbeat of the fetus. And they will have to supply a state-produced brochure proclaiming: "The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being."
A Planned Parenthood official said legal challenges to other states' laws offering ultrasounds generally have been unsuccessful, and its Missouri clinics are preparing to comply with the law when it takes effect Aug. 28.
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