Texas House members debate sonogram bill




Posted on March 2, 2011 at 6:55 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 2 at 11:10 PM

Possible new rules for women wanting abortions could be coming to Texas because of emergency legislation according to Gov. Rick Perry.

The Texas House started debating a bill Wednesday requiring doctors to do a sonogram before the procedure. At times the debate got heated on the floor.

Republicans backing the bill said it is about showing the woman what is at stake. 

The Sponsor of the bill, Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, said, "I think it is a moral issue. We have an obligation to provide all the information necessary to that patient."

The proposed law would require doctors to display the sonogram and play the fetal heartbeat for the woman as the doctor describes whether the fetus has arms, legs or internal organs.

The woman can look away, but cannot decline the procedure.

The House bill is tougher than the senate bill which was passed two weeks ago.

The House legislation would demand the sonogram at least 24 hours before the abortion. The Senate would just require two hours.

The Senate exempts women pregnant from rape or incest who want an abortion from the sonogram, but the House does not.

"If a woman decides after she sees all it is, sees the sonogram, hears the heart beat and everything and she still wants to do it, that's her choice, " said Rep. Chente Quintanilla, D-Tornillo, is a Democrat and co-author of the bill.

Most House Democrats called the bill just another attempt to throw obstacles in front of a constitutional right. 

"This is the trans vaginal probe," said Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, holding an instrument used in the sonogram told House members. "Colleagues, this is what we're talking about. It's as very intrusive process.  This is not the jelly on the belly that many of you are thinking about. This is government intrusion at its best."

Democrats offered a lot of amendments slowing the bill and pushing debate into Thursday.

Republicans hold two-thirds of the House, so the sonogram bill is expected to easily pass.