Pregnant women in the US state of Oklahoma will be given an ultrasound and receive detailed information about their unborn baby before going through with an abortion, under new laws.
Pro-lifers say the new measures, passed by the state’s legislature, are an attempt to save the lives of unborn children and prevent psychological trauma to pregnant women.
Women will hear about the dimensions of the baby, whether arms, legs and internal organs are visible and whether there is cardiac activity.
A key supporter of the change in the law, Tony Lauinger, vice president of the National Right to Life Committee, said: “The intent of the law is to provide a woman with full and complete information in advance of an irrevocable act that will take the life of an unborn child”.
Mr Lauinger added: “It is hoped that with the benefit of that information some women will opt to allow their baby to continue to live.”
Mary Spaulding Balch, a director at National Right to Life, said: “Ultrasound gives a mother a window to her womb. It helps to prevent her from making a decision she may regret for the rest of her life and it empowers her with the most accurate information about her pregnancy so that she can make a truly informed ‘choice’.”
A second new law attempts to protect doctors by stopping “wrongful life” lawsuits, which have become increasingly common.
In such cases, women sue their doctors if their child is born with an abnormality claiming they would have had an abortion if they had known about it.
Earlier this week it was revealed that a baby boy in Italy had survived for two days after a botched abortion at 22 weeks.
Press reports today claim the mother chose to abort the baby after a prenatal scan showed he had a cleft lip and palate.
He was wrapped in a sheet and left to die by staff at the Rossano Calabro hospital in Italy, but the day after the abortion the baby boy, who still had his umbilical cord attached, was discovered moving and breathing by a Roman Catholic priest.
The baby was rushed to another nearby hospital, where he died the following day.
In Britain the remarkable youngster’s fight for life has fuelled calls for a reduction in the upper time limit for abortions, which are currently allowed up to 24 weeks.
A spokesman for the ProLife Alliance said: “There cannot be anybody in the world who is not horrified by a story like this nor anybody in the UK who would not support a massive reduction in the upper limit for abortion.”