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Ultrasounds are focus of Minn. anti-abortion rally on 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

People crowd the rotunda of the State Capitol in St. Paul during a Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life rally on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, the 45th anniversary of the Jan. 22, 1973 Roe V. Wade decision from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding abortion. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

ST. PAUL—Minnesota's most-influential anti-abortion group rolled out its agenda Monday:

"Let women see their ultrasounds!"

The demand was emblazoned on signs and preached by a number of speakers before crowds that lined the Capitol Rotunda in St. Paul on Monday, the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision that hallowed into law a woman's right to an abortion.

Numerous Republican lawmakers cheered when House Speaker Kurt Daudt promised legislation would be introduced that would guarantee a woman's right to view an ultrasound of her fetus before any abortion is performed.

Abortion-rights defenders said they believe that's already standard practice in Minnesota.

The annual rally, organized by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, featured testimony from Carla Stream of Hudson, Wis., who drew tears from some in the crowd as she told the story of her own abortion 27 years ago that she has since regretted.

"I was 10 weeks along and was never shown an ultrasound of my baby," said Stream, who now has four children. "I never got to hear that little heartbeat. I know I would have rejected abortion had I been allowed to see my child."

No actual language of a bill was available Monday, but on its face, it would appear to fall just short of so-called "forced ultrasound laws" passed in some states, which require an ultrasound to be shown to a woman before she elects to have an abortion.

Andrea Ledger, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, a leading abortion-rights group, said every abortion-providing facility that her group has asked already allows women to see such an ultrasound.

"Doctors ought to be giving their patients all the information they can to make an informed decision, and we assume that's happening," she said.

Ledger said that without knowing details of any proposed legislation, it was hard to comment directly, although it's rare for her group and MCCL to agree on new abortion-related laws.

"Generally ... politicians should not interfere with the health care relationship between a doctor and a patient," she said.

Through a spokesman, Gov. Mark Dayton declined to comment — although the Democrat's support of abortion rights is well-known.

Last year, Dayton vetoed two measures approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

One sought to bar taxpayer funds from going to clinics that perform abortions.

The second related to new inspection and certification requirements for abortion-providing facilities.