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.

Highlights

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

 

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.

  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.
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).