Texas considers law requiring women to see fetus, listen to heartbeat before abortion
A Texas Senate committee will begin considering an anti-abortion measure this week that, if passed, would be one of the strongest in the nation. The bill mandates that pregnant women be shown an ultrasound of the fetus at least two hours before an abortion.
Physicians also would be required to explain the grainy image, including a description of the fetus’ dimensions and, if applicable, the presence of limbs or internal organs. If audible, the fetal heartbeat would have to be played for the woman as well.
Supporters of the bill hope the extra steps persuade more women to give birth and reduce the number of abortions in Texas.
But critics say the bill would violate women’s and physicians’ civil liberties and, for women who go through with the abortion, could make a wrenching decision more difficult to bear.
Two weeks ago, Gov. Rick Perry fast-tracked the sonogram bill by declaring it an emergency item, allowing lawmakers to vote on the proposal early in the 140-day legislative session.
“People ask me, ‘Why is this an emergency issue?”’ said Republican Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston, the bill’s author. “We have 80,000 abortions in Texas every year. So let’s just say that one out of five women, after they see the sonogram, make a decision to either put the baby up for adoption or keep the baby. You’re talking about 16,000 lives.”
The Senate passed bills in 2007 and 2009 that included sonogram provisions, but those efforts failed in the House. With the governor’s emergency designation, supporters think this might be their year.
A provision in the current proposal allows women to avert their eyes. But from a practical standpoint, whether a woman may choose not to hear the description and heartbeat of the fetus is unclear.
Feh. Much more at link.