AUSTIN — The Texas Legislature passed a bill Thursday that would require doctors to perform a sonogram before conducting an abortion.
Gov. Rick Perry had declared the bill to be emergency legislation, and it now awaits his signature. The proposed law requires doctors to conduct a sonogram at least 24 hours before an abortion and to provide the woman with the opportunity to see the results and hear the fetal heartbeat. The doctor is also required to describe what the sonogram shows, to include the existence of legs, arms and internal organs.
Proponents said the law is necessary to make sure women understand what an abortion entails. Opponents say the measure would interfere in the doctor-patient relationship.
"This will be one of the strongest pieces of sonogram legislation in the nation," said state Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, the bill's author. "House Bill 15 will protect human life, the lives of the unborn victims of abortion, as well as those facing life-changing decisions. ... This legislation will save numerous unborn lives."
Only three other states require a sonogram for all women seeking an abortion.