Palatine lawmaker wants waiting period for abortions

A suburban Republican lawmaker wants women to be required to wait 24 hours and be offered an image from their ultrasound before having an abortion.

State Rep. Tom Morrison of Palatine also proposed any abortion clinic must have the operating physician present after the abortion until the patient goes home following the procedure and that a physician performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Morrison said he introduced the legislation, which has been introduced in Illinois in the past and failed to become law, in order to improve safety for women. Opponents of such laws say they are aimed at restricting access to abortions and closing down clinics.

Morrison said he introduced the proposal that women be given photos from their ultrasounds after hearing stories of women who went to get an abortion, and after getting an ultrasound, weren't allowed to see the image.

The bill also would require the woman be told she can listen to a fetal heartbeat, if present, and be given descriptions of the abortion procedure and of “the probable anatomical and physiological” appearance of the fetus.

“You get more (information) from a Viagra ad on TV than you do about an abortion procedure sometimes,” said Nancy Kreuzer of Glen Ellyn, the regional coordinator of Silent No More, an group that opposes abortion.

American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Ed Yohnka said the ultimate goal of the bills is to end abortions and that such measures haven't been allowed by courts.

“The purpose of these bills is to end meaningful access to abortions,” Yohnka said.

He said he found it is unlikely a woman would ask for an abortion without having done research in advance.

“I think its incredibly insulting to say that women don't know what they're doing,” Yohnka said.

Legislation affecting abortions is controversial in Springfield, as it is everywhere. Moves to restrict access could face a steep trail to approval because the Illinois Capitol is dominated by Democrats.

Morrison said having the physician stay on site is meant to improve patients' safety.

“This is legislation that raises the standard for care of women,” Morrison said. “Those who are pro abortion should be on our side for this one.”

Yohnka said the plan would make it difficult for abortion facilities to remain open.

“For a clinic in Illinois to open, (it) would have to design itself to be a small hospital,” Yohnka said.

As far as facilities needing better regulation, Yohnka said the state has done well.

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