A Florida abortion bill that would require all women seeking a first-trimester abortion to have an ultrasound first has failed to pass the state's senate.
After a heated debate, the votes were equally divided, 20-20, causing the measure to fail under state law, the Palm Beach Post reports
The measure also splintered state Republicans. Seven GOP members voted against their party's bill.
Florida's top senate leader fought for the ultrasound bill as a final piece of legislation before ending his 28-year state political career this Friday.
"I'm pro-life, so I want to see as many people think as long as they can about it before having (an abortion)," Majority Leader Dan Webster said. "I've had six kids. Those ultrasounds are awesome. They impacted me, they impacted my wife."
All but one of the state's nine female senators denied the bill. Abortion rights groups also praised the Florida senate for not passing the bill, known as SB2400.
Under the legislation, doctors would have been required to offer and explain an ultrasound to women seeking an abortion during the first three months of pregnancy.
In Florida, ultrasounds are required for abortions in the second and third trimesters, but 90 percent of abortions are done in the first.
The bill stated that women could decline seeing the image of their baby, but they'd still have to get the ultrasound.
Opponents said that was an unecessary expense. Ultrasounds cost anywhere from $100-200.
"If you are looking at biblical passages or morality to support this, remember: The Bible does mention the poor," Democrat Dave Aronberg argued.
Physicians would not have had to offer the ultrasound to victims of rape, incest, domestic violence or human trafficking, or those getting an abortion for medical reasons.
Women who fit those exceptions, however, would have been required to prove their situation.
Supporters say most clinics already conduct ultrasounds before abortions to determine fetus age, and the bill would not be much of an inconvenience.
Sources: CBN News, St. Petersburg Times, The Associated Press, Palm Beach Post