Ultrasound bill wins Senate approval
Thu April 30, 2009 5:38 pm

Doctors would be required to offer ultrasounds to women seeking abortions, and women would have the choice to view or not view the tests, under a compromise accepted today by Sen. Dan Patrick and adopted by the Texas Senate.

"It is really inform and consent. It is women's health. It is really pretty simple," Patrick said. "It is to protect women's health and if that saves lives, that is a wonderful thing."

But Sen. Wendy Davis pointed out the bill goes further than Patrick's explanation, and will require information to be communicated verbally to the woman by her doctor about the development of the fetus.  (Current law allows the information to be given in writing.) The bill, Davis argued, "is about a great deal more. it is about shaming a women who is making a difficult decision."  Patrick retorted that he would ignore her remark.

Sen. Juan Hinojosa also objected, saying the measure intrudes into the "intimate relationship between a doctor and a patient."

Patrick emotionally recounted the story of a young couple who received an ultrasound at an abortion clinic and were informed the fetus had no heartbeat. They were offered abortion services, though they had not decided to terminate the pregnancy, and they were not shown the actual ultrasound. A second ultrasound at a crisis pregnancy clinic later revealed a heartbeat.  Patrick said his bill would prevent couples from a similar ordeal in the future.

Sen. Eddie Lucio urged his colleagues to be "pro-lifetime" and care for citizens "from moment of conception to moment of death."

Patrick promised he would "not allow anything radical" to be added to the bill by the House. "I have no intention to have any dramatic changes in this bill," he said.

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