Abortion: Democrat Keith English Wants All Women To Hear Heartbeat, See Ultrasound


Keith English
  • Keith English

This is not the first anti-abortion bill to be proposed in Missouri this year -- but Representative Keith English's House Bill 298 stands out for a number of reasons.

First of all, English is a Democrat.

"I honestly believe that good fathers that want to raise...their children should have a choice in whether the child lives or dies," English tells Daily RFT.

But how would he mandate this?

The lawmaker says he hopes to discourage women from having abortions -- through a bil that is sure to spark controversy in the coming weeks.

House Bill 298, is a legislative proposal that would "require an ultrasound to be conducted and reviewed with the pregnant woman prior to the 24-hour waiting period for an abortion."


The bill, full version on view below, says:

This bill requires a physician to conduct and review with the woman an active ultrasound and allow the woman to hear the heartbeat, if it is audible, of the unborn child at least 24 hours prior to an abortion.

If an ultrasound can not be conducted at the abortion facility, the woman seeking an abortion must submit verification from the facility that conducted the ultrasound, specifying the time and date the ultrasound was conducted, that it was reviewed with the woman, and she was allowed to view the ultrasound images and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child if the heartbeat is audible.

English, the rare pro-life Democrat, and a first-time lawmaker in Missouri, says that the bill is inspired by a situation in his personal life, but declines to elaborate further.

The thinking behind the bill, he says, is that if women were required to see an actual image of the ultrasound -- and not just look at a cartoon drawing when physicians explain the process -- they would be more likely to reconsider.

"I want to make sure the reality, the facts, are given to the women," he tells us.

"I honestly believe in my heart that if the ultrasound picture was provided...there's a great chance that [there would be fewer abortions]," he says. "If you show a woman all the facts, not just a cartoon illustration. If you show the woman, here's the reality.... Here's what's getting ready to happen.... I think for all the good fathers in the state of Missouri...they should have the option of raising the child if the female decides she doesn't want to."

Continue for more of our interview with Keith English and a full draft of the bill.

He hopes that, if passed, the measure would encourage more women to consult the fathers and ultimately decide not to have an abortion.

English adds, "This is not taking a woman's right to choose away."

He says there are a handful of other states that have similar policies on the books.

"The father should also have a say," he says. "Just the visual part of this would say, maybe you need to consult the other half of this picture."

Here's the full bill.

House Bill 298

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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