House Expected to Take Up Sonogram Bill Again Today
Today the so-called "Sonogram Bill" returns to the Texas House, after being sent back to committee yesterday by Democrats. House Democrats took issue with a technicality in how the bill moved from the State Affairs committee to the full House. Barring additional delays, the House is expected to vote on the Bill today.
The bill is one of five pieces of emergency legislation that are being fast-tracked through the Capitol. Pro-choice advocates probably don’t have the votes to stall the bill any longer; though it’s possible more procedural stalling could ensue.
The bill requires doctors to provide abortion patients with a detailed description of the fetus 24 hours prior to the procedure. Also, doctors will give patients the option to hear the heartbeat of the fetus.
The Texas Observer reports yesterday, in an attempt to stall the bill Senator Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) displayed the instrument she said doctors would use to administer the sonogram, calling it "intrusive".
However, Representative Sid Miller (R-Stephenville), the author of HB 15, says that the sonogram will not be intrusive.
"It's a standard of care. It's a standard medical procedure that is performed before the abortion is performed. So there will be no more increased...there won't be an increase in sonograms," said Miller. "What we want is...the testimony in the committee was even though the sonogram was done, women were denied the opportunity to view that, denied access to the doctor to ask questions about the procedure. We just want fully informed consent that all information is made available to the patient."
The House bill is paired up with a similar bill in the Senate, which passed 21-10 earlier this month. But the House bill is more stringent than the Senate’s.
Ryland Barton contributed to reporting.