The Texas legislature passed a bill on Thursday requiring doctors to conduct a sonogram before performing an abortion, and to describe to the woman seeking an abortion what the sonogram shows before moving ahead with the procedure.
The bill, which passed the Texas House on Thursday by a 94-41 vote, forces doctors to perform a sonogram at least 24 hours before performing an abortion, and to show the resulting images to a woman if she requests to view them. And even if the woman declines to view the sonogram, the bill mandates that she must still listen to the doctor describe the images before going ahead with the abortion.
There is an exception, however, for cases of rape and incest. In those instances, the woman is not required to view or listen to descriptions of the sonogram.
The bill now heads to Gov. Rick Perry (R), who previously endorsed the measure and is now expected to sign it into law. Because the bill passed both chambers of the state legislature with at least two-thirds majority, it will become law as soon as the governor signs it.
Earlier this week, Perry lauded the legislation’s passage through the Senate, and said he was eager to make it the law of the land.
“Ensuring Texans have access to all the information when making such an important decision is a critical step in our efforts to protect life, and I look forward to this legislation reaching my desk very soon,” Perry said in a statement posted to the governor’s website.
The Texas sonogram bill comes on the heels of a similar one just passed in Florida. That bill also requires that doctors perform an ultrasound before conducting an abortion, though women are allowed to opt out of viewing the ultrasound images. A stricter ultrasound bill made it through the legislature last year, only to be vetoed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist.