Texas Senate Gives Initial Approval to Allowing Ultrasound Viewing Before Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
May 1, 2009
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — The Texas state Senate on Thursday gave initial approval to a bill that would allow women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn baby prior to an abortion. Some sixteen states have such laws on the books that pro-life advocates hope will help lower the number of abortions further.
The bills enjoy strong backing because 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 life-affirming alternatives.
Senator Dan Patrick presented Senate Bill 182, which would amend the current Texas Women’s Right to Know Act, a law the legislature passed in 2003 that requires abortion practitioners to provide women with information about abortion’s risks and alternatives.
The Senate gave preliminary approval with a 20-9 vote on second reading and is expected to give a final vote today for the measure.
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.
Joe Pojman, the executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, tells LifeNews.com his group supports the legislation.
"We are very happy to hear that the Senate has supported SB 182 with preliminary approval," he said. "This is a good and necessary bill that will help enable women to make fully informed decisions about their medical care."
Rep. Frank Corte Jr., a San Antonio Republican, is the sponsor of the House version of the legislation, HB 36. 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 in February with Perry, Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and the authors of the bills.
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.
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