Health & Science

Controversial "Sonogram Bill" Gains Traction in Texas Leg

A bill that would require women seeking abortions to undergo a sonogram is moving forward in the Texas Legislature. The new changes would add exceptions for victims of rape and incest and for women who live far away from an abortion clinic. KUHF Health Science and Technology reporter Carrie Feibel has more.


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Under the bill, all women would have to get the sonogram and the doctor would have to describe what he sees on the image. But staffers for State Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston, the bill’s sponsor, said some exceptions had been added to the bill. Women who had become pregnant because of rape or incest could decline to hear the doctor’s verbal description. So could women who carry a fetus with fatal abnormalities. These exceptions were added to the bill to gain votes in the state senate.

The other compromise has to do with 24-hour waiting period. Under the bill, the doctor must give the sonogram 24 hours before performing the abortion. But if the woman lives more than 100 miles away, she only has to have it two hours before the abortion.

Patrick was unavailable to comment on the bill. Rochelle Tafolla of Gulf Coast Planned Parenthood says even with the new exceptions the bill is still unacceptable.

“Most women who have abortions already have at least one child, they’re fully aware of the decision that they’ve made, what politicians in Austin have said is ‘We don’t think women fully understand this, we know better, and we’re going to force physicians to describe fetal development before she has an abortion.’ It’s torturous for women.”

The Texas Medical Association also opposes the bill, saying it allows government to mandate that a doctor perform a certain medical test. From the KUHF Health Science and Technology Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.

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