Categories: Legislation

Texas Pro-Life Gov. Rick Perry Signs Ultrasound Bill

By Dave Andrusko

Gov. Rick Perry

Although many states are wrapping up their legislative sessions, pro-lifers continue to win important victories and/or move legislation along. (See also “Legislation headed to Gov. Dayton following bipartisan approval in Minnesota House, Senate.”)

In Texas, after a long, drawn-out series of negotiations, the state now has an ultrasound bill, thanks to votes in the House (94-41) and Senate (21-10, on a second reading) and the signature of pro-life Gov. Rick Perry.

“Texas Right to Life is pleased that Governor Perry signed the sonogram bill,” Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life, told NRL News Today. “The sonogram is an important piece of informed consent before abortion.  If the new sonogram law is followed as intended by legislators, most women considering abortion will see the active child and hear the heartbeat and choose to continue their pregnancies.”

The new law says that the abortion-vulnerable woman must be able to see an ultrasound at least 24 hours before an abortion is performed and that the abortionist must give “in a manner understandable to a layperson, a verbal explanation of the results of the sonogram images, including a medical description of the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, and the presence of external members and internal organs.”

The woman, of course, may choose not to view the sonogram. The law takes effect September 1.

The importance of sonograms are that they “offer a mother a window to her womb, giving her a first glimpse of her living unborn child at his earliest stage of life,” said Mary Spaudling Balch, Director of the National Right to Life State Legislation Department. “This is an essential piece of information for any mother if her decision is to be truly informed.”

Here’s how Texas Right to Life (National Right to Life’s state affiliate) recently described the backdrop to this important victory.

“We have been working on the sonogram bill for five years.  Most abortion clinics claim that a sonogram is already done prior to abortion.  The problem is that women have been refused the option to view the screen and to see their unborn child.  Texas Right to Life has always supported the woman’s right to see her sonogram, but we needed to codify that right in the sonogram bill.  [This version] requires abortion clinics to do a sonogram before every abortion and give the woman the option to view her unborn child and listen to her unborn child’s heartbeat.”

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