Yesterday, the H.3245 (two-trip ultrasound) Conference Committee started the meeting with a prayer led by Sen. Bryant. In Senator Bryant’s prayer, he asked for guidance, wisdom, and for “a miracle because only a miracle from God will get us out of this conference committee.”
Chairman Kevin Bryant started the conversation with a side by side comparison of the Senate and House versions of the bill. Each side was able to voice their opinion on common ground items which include the effective date, severability clauses and the general concept of a 24-hour waiting period. The more controversial items including where the woman would receive the Woman’s Right to Know information, when the 24-hours clock would start, and an exception for rape and incest victims were debated in length.
Rep. Wendy Nanney expressed her initial intent of enforcing a 24 hour wait for all women even in a trauma. According to Nanney, trauma is the most vulnerable time for women and she is not thinking rationally, therefore a woman needs more time to think about her decisions regardless of rape and incest. Sen. Jake Knotts rebutted her claim by saying he would not be in favor of victimizing a woman for the second time with a governmental regulation.
Rep. Greg Delleney stated the House would not budge on the 24-hour time period starting when an ultrasound was performed. He also called the meeting a “press conference” for each member. Senators Brad Hutto and Knotts informed the House that if they were not willing to negotiate on the 24 hour trigger than there was no need to continue with the conference committee.
Although Sen. Bryant did set a tentative next meeting for next Wednesday, he is requesting that each member of the Conference Committee work behind the scenes this week to possibly come up with proposals and agreements.