Background

Since the mid-1990s, several states have moved to make ultrasound part of abortion service provision. Some laws and policies require that a woman seeking an abortion receive information on accessing ultrasound services, while others require that a woman undergo an ultrasound before an abortion. Since routine ultrasound is not considered medically necessary as a component of first-trimester abortion, the requirements appear to be a veiled attempt to personify the fetus and dissuade a woman from obtaining an abortion. Moreover, an ultrasound can add significantly to the cost of the procedure.

Highlights

Ultrasound Requirements

STATE

INFORMATION ON ACCESSING ULTRASOUND SERVICES

PROVISION OF ULTRASOUND

Required for Each Abortion

If Performed, the Provider Must Offer the Woman the Opportunity to View the Image

Offered by the Provider to the Woman

Provider Must Display and Describe the Image

Provider Must Offer the Woman the Option to View the Image

Provider Not Required to Offer the Option to View

Alabama

 

 

X

 

 

 

Arizona

 

 

X‡​

 

 

 

Arkansas

 

 

 

 

X

 

Florida

 

 

X

 

 

 

Georgia

Verbal

 

 

 

X

 

Idaho

Verbal and written 

 

 

 

X

 

Indiana

Verbal

 

X

 

 

 

Iowa

 

 

X

 

 

X

Kansas

Written

 

X

 

 

 

Kentucky

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisiana

 

      X‡,ξ​

 

 

 

 

Michigan

Written*

 

 

 

X

 

Mississippi

 

 

X

 

 

 

Missouri

Written

 

 

 

 

X

Nebraska

Verbal and written

 

 

 

X

 

North Carolina

Written

 

X

 

 

North Dakota

 

 

 

 

 

X‡​

Ohio

 

 

XЭ​

 

X

 

Oklahoma

Verbal and written

 

 

X

 

 

South Carolina

Written

 

 

 

X

 

South Dakota

 

 

 

 

 

X

Texas

Written

X‡,ξ​

 

 

 

 

Utah

Verbal

 

 

 

XΩ​

X

Virginia

Written

 

X‡,ξ​

 

 

 

West Virginia

 

 

 

 

X

 

Wisconsin

Verbal and written

Xξ​

 

 

 

 

Wyoming

 

 

 

 

 

X

TOTAL

14

3

9

2

9

6

Enforcement permanently enjoined by court order; policy not in effect.

*   Included in written counseling materials although not specifically mandated by state law.
  The woman will also be offered the option to hear a detailed description of the image.
    If an ultrasound is requested by the woman, the provider will also display the image so that the woman can view it.
   An ultrasound must take place at least 24 hours in advance of the abortion; in Texas and Virginia some women must obtain the ultrasound at
     least 24 hours in advance.
ξ   The law allows the woman look away from the image and in Louisiana, Texas and Virginia the woman may decline to listen to the description
     under certain circumstances. In Virginia and Wisconsin a woman who has been sexually assaulted is not required to undergo the ultrasound.
Э  The provider must test for the fetal heartbeat which requires an ultrasound if the woman is in the first trimester of pregnancy which is when most
     abortions are provided.