The Idaho State Senate [official website] approved a bill [SB 1349, PDF] on Monday requiring a woman who is seeking an abortion to first receive an ultrasound. The ultrasound bill's purported goal is to ensure that a woman's "consent to an abortion is truly informed consent." The bill requires an abortion provider to describe the physical characteristics of the fetus to the woman at two-week intervals along with photographs of the fetus. Opponents of the bill assert that it will force women to undergo an invasive vaginally administered procedure in many circumstances. The ultrasound bill will now go to the Idaho House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass [Reuters report]. Idaho Governor CL "Butch" Otter [official website] has not yet indicated whether he will sign the bill.
If the ultrasound bill becomes law, Idaho will become the ninth state to require an ultrasound before an abortion. Two weeks ago, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell [official website] signed a hotly contested ultrasound bill into law [JURIST report]. In January the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] lifted an injunction [JURIST report] on a similar Texas law [JURIST report], allowing the law to be enforced. In October a judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina [official website] issued a preliminary injunction [JURIST report], blocking part of the state's abortion law that required a physician to perform an ultrasound and describe the images to the patient. In March 2010 the Supreme Court of Oklahoma [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that a state law [SB 1878, DOC] imposing broad restrictions on abortion, including the requirement of an ultrasound prior to the procedure, violated that state's constitution.