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Idaho ultrasound bill stalled

BOISE, Idaho, March 22 (UPI) -- Republican lawmakers in Idaho canceled a hearing on a controversial bill that would require a woman to undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion.

After a closed-door caucus Wednesday, Thursday's hearing was canceled, and no further hearings or caucuses were immediately scheduled, the (Boise) Idaho Statesman reported.

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Wednesday proved to be an emotional day, as anti-abortion activist Brandi Swindell exhibited pictures of ultrasounds, arguing if more women knew how painless ultrasounds were, there would be less controversy, the newspaper said. The state of Idaho already requires women seeking abortions to be given pamphlets on free ultrasound providers in their area.

Julia Harter, 32, of Boise spoke to Julie Lynde of the anti-abortion Cornerstone Institute, who helped draft the bill, telling her she was raped 15 years ago.

"You're saying I'm not intelligent enough to read a pamphlet and understand what's going on in my uterus," Harter told Lynde. "I can tell you as a rape victim, I want your laws off of me. Thank God I didn't get pregnant."

Ten House Republicans expressed concern the bill could hurt their chances of re-election; however, a few suggested amending the bill to save it, The Statesman said.

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The bill, which passed the Senate 23-12 Monday, would force a woman to undergo an ultrasound to determine whether or not there is a fetal heartbeat. It would also mandate doctors to determine gestational age before an abortion can be performed.

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