An abortion-sonogram bill resembling the one Gov. Rick Perry signed into law this year popped up in Washington courtesy of Perry’s fellow Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Michele Bachmann, of Minnesota.
Her proposal came ahead of the Family Research Council’s Values Voters Summit on Friday, a chance for the candidates to showcase their social-conservative credentials as Bachmann lags and Perry attempts to climb back in national polls. The bill was accompanied by a new Bachmann video urging supporters not to “settle on life and marriage."
“A pregnant woman who enters an abortion clinic is faced with a decision that will forever change two lives,” Bachmann said in a statement. “That’s why she must have the very best information with which to make that decision.”
Bachmann’s bill would require that, before performing an abortion, a doctor conduct an ultrasound, show the patient an ultrasound image, describe the image to the patient and make the sound of the fetus’s heartbeat audible to the patient if possible.
The Texas law, which Perry signed in May, requires that a woman seeking an abortion first receive a sonogram and hear a description of the fetus by a doctor. The U.S. Supreme Court in September blocked Texas from enforcing the law while a group challenges it in court on equal-protection and First Amendment grounds.
Nineteen states regulate abortion-related ultrasounds in some way, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Bachmann "did not model the bill off Texas's legislation," spokeswoman Becky Rogness said in an email.
Bachmann’s bill came at a turbulent time in the national polls for her and for Perry. His poll numbers are starting to recover after their decline after poor debate performances last month. Bachmann has continued to poll in the single digits since mid-September.
Perry drew cheers at the Values Voters Summit on Friday, where he discussed his anti-abortion credentials – including reducing funds for Planned Parenthood – and said that “all human life is made in the image of our creator.”
Bachmann was also set to speak at the event Friday.
The proposal has slim chances in the Democrat-controlled Senate, said Democratic consultant Mark Putnam.
"It's all about politics," Putnam said in an email. "She rails against the government requiring cervical cancer vaccinations, but would force those same young women to have sonograms. Like most things with Michele Bachmann, it's random, haphazard and inconsistent."