Saturday, March 29, 2003

Paula Zahn Transcript

ZAHN: Thank you. Are you, through this bill, trying to scare women away from having abortions?

BRYANT: No, we're not trying to scare women about having an abortion, but we just want to show her all the facts, show her how the baby is developed in the womb with 10 fingers and 10 toes. And when she makes this decision -- and this doesn't do anything with that choice, but it does add information and makes the choice more informed. And that's the goal of the legislation.

ZAHN: But you do feel that looking at this ultrasound makes a difference. And I know some people dispute the statistics that you have used to try to get this bill through, but you think the more women who look at these ultrasounds, the more they'll be discouraged to go through with an abortion.

BRYANT: Well, we feel that the right choice is to carry the child. That's our opinion. And we've seen 80, 85 percent of women who do view an ultrasound of the baby in their womb do, most of the time, indeed, decide to carry that child and deliver the child. So, we believe that it adds honor, adds respect to the life in the womb.

ZAHN: Senator, I want to put up on the screen now something that a well-known bioethicist said about this proposed law. "We don't require people who are undergoing any surgical procedure to view models of what their heart looks like or what their stomach looks like before they're operated on."

So his question, essentially, is why should abortion be any different?

BRYANT: Well, this isn't a heart or it's not a lung. This is another living human being that has rights and should be honored. So, I believe that it's a different situation here, because we're dealing with a baby.

These ultrasounds show a beating heart with four chambers. It shows a developed spinal cord where you can see different vertebrae. It's way more developed than one would imagine. It's certainly not a blob of tissue or another organ of the body.

ZAHN: Planned Parenthood, as you know, is also opposed to this bill. And I also want to share that criticism with you tonight.


ZAHN: They write, "Women are intelligent and thoughtful human beings who would not go forward if they did not think this was in their best interest. This bill is nothing more than politically driven. It's unnecessary and an attempt to restrict abortion by scaring and intimidating women."

Are you trying to suggest that women can't make informed decisions without looking at this ultrasound?

BRYANT: I believe that the decision would definitely be informed if they do see this ultrasound, and I do believe there are some involved in this debate that simply are disappointed when someone chooses to carry the child. That's what it appears, anyway.

ZAHN: What really upsets people, though, is why some people think it's OK to even insist that women who have been raped by a family member or by a stranger should also be subjected to looking at this ultrasound. Is that fair?

BRYANT: Well, that is -- well, that's -- that was proposed in the House. And that amendment was tabled. I believe it will probably be proposed again in the Senate, even though I won't support that amendment.

It would still be -- the bill would still be something I could support if that's in there. And, you know, we'll just have to take it when it comes.

But the thing is, we still have a life, regardless of circumstances, a developed baby. And I believe that baby should be part of that decision process that the patient undergoes.
ZAHN: Senator Kevin Bryant, got to leave it there. Thanks for coming in tonight.

BRYANT: OK. Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Our pleasure.

As the Senate takes up H. 3355 next week. Your thoughts, questions, & comments are certainly welcome.