Pro: New sonogram bill empowers women

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

June 19, 2011 at 1:19 a.m.

A new law requires Texas women to view a sonogram before deciding to end a pregnancy.

Known as the sonogram bill and authored by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, proponents say it allows women to be wholly informed before deciding to have an abortion.

Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, who filed similar legislation in the House earlier this year, said she's satisfied with the new law and contends it will better inform and empower women.

"It is very important women have all the information about the risks and consequences of the procedure and talk about the risks and outcomes" before the procedure, Morrison said.

When asked if the law is anti-women rights, Morrison responded "absolutely not."

"This is empowering women with having all the information they need to have," she said. "Every woman has the right to know what's going on with their bodies."

The new law also allows women to opt out of viewing the sonogram and hearing the heartbeat in circumstances of rape and incest, or if the mother is a minor, Morrison said.

The law also states that women must consult with a physician at least 24 hours before the procedure. However, if the mother lives more than 100 miles from an abortion facility, she can consult with a doctor two hours before the procedure.

Morrison said the new law may help decrease statewide abortion rates because more women will have time to consider the decision and discuss the procedure with a doctor.

"I do think it will definitely affect the number of abortions in Texas," she said.

Chris Valasquez, 42, of Victoria, agrees with Morrison and the new law.

"I think it's going to change a lot of people's minds when they hear the heartbeat," Valasquez said.

Another Victoria resident, Catie Russell, 18, said hearing the heartbeat before an abortion may force women to rethink the procedure.

"Hearing the heartbeat makes people think twice about it and makes them see it's a living being, and not just something they don't want," Russell said.



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