Requirements for Ultrasound

Background

Background

Since the mid-1990s, several states have moved to make ultrasound part of abortion service provision. Some laws and policies require that a person seeking an abortion receive information on accessing ultrasound services, while others require that a patient 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 an individual from obtaining an abortion. Moreover, an ultrasound can add significantly to the cost of the procedure.

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Highlights

  • 13 states require verbal counseling or written materials to include information on accessing ultrasound services.
  • 27 states regulate the provision of ultrasound by abortion providers.
    • 6 states mandate that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on each person seeking an abortion and require the provider to show and describe the image.

    • 10 states mandate that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on each person seeking an abortion, and 8 of these require the provider to offer the patient the opportunity to view the image.

    • 8 states require that a patient be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound image if their provider performs the procedure as part of preparation for an abortion.

    • 6 states require that a patient be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound image.

Ultrasound Requirements

STATE

INFORMATION ON ACCESSING ULTRASOUND SERVICES

PROVISION OF ULTRASOUND

Required for Each Abortion

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

Offered by the Provider to the Patient

Provider Must Display and Describe the Image

Provider Must Offer the Patient the Option to View the Image

Provider Not Required to Offer the Option to View

Alabama

 

 

X

 

 

 

Arizona

 

 

X‡​

 

 

 

Arkansas

 

Xξ​

 

 

 

 

Florida

 

 

X

 

 

 

Georgia

Verbal

 

 

 

X

 

Idaho

Verbal and written 

 

 

 

X

 

Indiana

Verbal

 

X

 

 

 

Iowa

 

 

X

 

 

X

Kansas

Written

 

X

 

 

 

Kentucky

 

  X

 

 

 

 

Louisiana

 

      X‡,ξ​

 

 

 

 

Michigan

Written*

 

 

 

X

 

Mississippi

 

 

X

 

 

 

Missouri

Written

 

 

 

 

X

Montana

 

 

 

 

 

 ▽

Nebraska

Verbal and written

 

 

 

X

 

New Hampshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Carolina

Written

 

X

 

 

North Dakota

 

 

 

 

 

X‡​

Ohio

 

 

XЭ​

 

X

 

Oklahoma

Verbal and written

 ▼

 

X

 

 

South Carolina

Written

 

 

 

X

 

South Dakota

 

 

 

 

 

X

Tennessee

 

X

       

Texas

Written

X‡,ξ​

 

 

 

 

Utah

Verbal

 

 

 

XΩ​

X

West Virginia

 

 

 

 

X

 

Wisconsin

Verbal and written

Xξ​

 

 

 

 

Wyoming

 

 

 

 

 

X

TOTAL

13

6

8

2

8

6

▼ Permanently enjoined by court order; policy not in effect. *   Included in written counseling materials although not specifically mandated by state law. Ω  The patient will also be offered the option to hear a detailed description of the image. †    If an ultrasound is requested by the patient, the provider will also display the image so that they can view it. ‡   An ultrasound must take place at least 24 hours in advance of the abortion; in Texas and Virginia some individuals must obtain the ultrasound at least 24 hours in advance. ξ   State law allows the patient to look away from the image; in Louisiana, Texas and Virginia the patient may decline to listen to the description under certain circumstances. In Virginia and Wisconsin, a pregnant person who has been sexually assaulted is not required to undergo the ultrasound.⌘  An ultrasound is only required for abortions provided after 24 weeks. Э  The provider must test for a fetal heartbeat, which requires an ultrasound if the person is in the first trimester of pregnancy (when most abortions are provided).