Texas Senate Committee Debates Abortion-Ultrasound Bill to Help Women

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 19, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Texas Senate Committee Debates Abortion-Ultrasound Bill to Help Women

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 19
, 2009

Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — A Texas state Senate committee held a hearing on a bill Thursday that would allow women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn baby prior to an abortion. More than a sixteen states have such laws on the books and another dozen are considering similar laws this year.

The bills enjoy strong backing from pro-life advocates, who know ultrasounds have helped women understand the humanity of their unborn child.

When used in pregnancy centers they persuade as many as 80 percent of women considering an abortion to seek alternatives.

Senator Dan Patrick presented Senate Bill 182 and said it would amend the current Texas Women’s Right to Know Act, which was passed in 2003. That’s a state law requiring abortion practitioners to provide women with information about abortion’s risks and alternatives.

Under Patrick’s bill, women would not be required to see the ultrasound but they must be allowed the chance to do so and can sign a form stating they were given the opportunity.

"I’m interested in protecting the lives of the unborn and giving a woman an option before she makes that fatal choice for that fetus, for that baby, to look at that ultrasound," he said previously. "That might persuade her to save that life."

Rep. Frank Corte Jr., a San Antonio Republican, is the sponsor of the House version of the legislation.

In 2007, the state Senate approved the bill and it stalled in the House.

In January, Texas Gov. Rick Perry urged lawmakers in the state legislature to adopt the bill, which he called “another layer of protection for the most vulnerable Texans.”

“Issues of this complexity and moral weight are the sort of thing that we are sent here to address,” he said.

Hundreds of pro-life advocates from across Texas rallied at the state capitol rallied last month with Perry, Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and the authors of the bills, SB 182 and HB 36.

Texas Alliance for Life’s executive director, Joe Pojman, was also one of the speakers and he told LifeNews.com the bill is the top priority of various pro-life groups throughout the state.

"This bill is one of our top priorities," said Pojman. "We cannot understand why anyone would deny women the information they need to decide whether to have an abortion."

The Texas Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates and Texas NARAL oppose the bill allowing women a chance to see the ultrasound.

During hearings on the prior bill, Juli Morrison of Seguin testified for it and said that she had an abortion 13 years ago and the abortion practitioner took a sonogram of her unborn baby but would not show it to her.

"I’m not here to argue the sanctity of life or anything," she said, according to AP. "I know from personal experience, from counseling women who are post-abortive, as much information as you can give them is the best."

There are more than 74,000 abortions in Texas annually and legislators are hoping Patrick’s bill and others the legislature is considering will help reduce that figure.

Related web sites:
Texas Right to Life – https://www.texasrighttolife.org
Texas Alliance for Life – https://www.texasallianceforlife.org
Texas legislature – https://www.capitol.state.tx.us

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