NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A proposed bill could require an ultrasound before an abortion is performed in Tennessee unless there is a medical emergency.
This is the first bill proposed since Tennessee voters approved changing the state constitution to allow some restrictions on abortions and abortion clinics.
House Bill 2 was introduced by Rep. Rick Womick of Rockvale and requires the ultrasound be performed between 24 and 72 hours before an abortion is to be performed.
Womick told WREG many abortion providers already do ultrasounds.
He said this bill equips women with more details before they make their decision.
"Women today are being told it's just a blob of tissue when, really, it's more than that," Womick said.
The patient must be offered the opportunity to view the ultrasound and receive a copy of the image.
If the woman declines to see the ultrasound, the doctor must verbally explain the "dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, and the presence of arms, legs, external members and internal organs, and provide a copy of the ultrasound image to the woman."
If a heartbeat is present, it must be made audible and the provider must also "provide...a simultaneous verbal explanation."
The abortion clinic must then keep a file containing the ultrasound of the woman for seven years from the date of the abortion.
If passed, the bill would take effect July 1, 2015.
WREG spoke with supporters and opponents of the bill.
"Certainly, mothers who are considering abortion should be fully informed of just what it does," Yes on 1 supporter Kent Pruett said.
No on 1 supporter Megan Kendall called the bill a violation.
"The only reason they're doing it is to shame and goad women who are already facing unplanned and unwanted pregnancies," Kendall said.