Gov. Rick Perry today ceremonially signed House Bill 15, which requires a woman to have a sonogram before electing to have an abortion to ensure she is fully informed before making such an impactful decision. The governor designated the measure an emergency item for the 2011 Legislative Session. He was joined by Sen. Dan Patrick and Rep. Sid Miller at the signing ceremony.
"Every life lost to abortion is a tragedy we all must work together to prevent, and I commend Rep. Miller and Sen. Patrick for their hard work on this significant legislation," Gov. Perry said. "This important bill will ensure that every Texas woman seeking an abortion has all the facts about the life she is carrying, and understands the devastating impact of such a life-changing decision."
House Bill 15 requires a physician to perform a sonogram 24 hours before an abortion, except in cases of medical emergency. Under this legislation, a physician is required to display the sonogram image, explain the image and make the fetal heartbeat audible.
"House Bill 15 will protect human life: the lives of the unborn victims of abortion, as well as those who are faced with such a life changing decision," said Rep. Sid Miller. "By providing women with a full 24-hour waiting period, this bill will provide expectant mothers with adequate time to review their sonogram and to carefully weigh the impact of their life-changing decision without undue pressure or influence from abortion providers or others."
The bill allows women to opt out of seeing the image and hearing the heartbeat, and requires that they sign a statement acknowledging so prior to receiving the sonogram. A woman may opt out of the verbal explanation of the image only if she is pregnant as a result of rape or incest; she is a minor obtaining an abortion under judicial bypass; or the fetus has an irreversible medical condition or abnormality. Additionally, if the woman lives more than 100 miles from the nearest abortion facility, the waiting period is shortened from 24 to two hours.
"Today is a great day for women's health and unborn children in Texas," Sen. Patrick said. "This bill will greatly improve women's healthcare in Texas, provide women the information that they deserve through informed consent and will undoubtedly save thousands of innocent lives."
Gov. Perry has worked diligently to protect unborn life in Texas, having signed both parental notification and parental consent laws to ensure parents are involved in their minor daughters' major decisions. The governor also signed a ban ensuring tax dollars are not used to support abortion facilities, and helped implement the strictest third trimester abortion ban in the nation. He also supported and signed the Woman's Right to Know Act, and has worked with lawmakers to fund and promote alternatives to abortion.