AUSTIN (May 24, 2011)--Gov. Rick Perry celebrated the passage of a law that requires doctors to conduct sonograms before abortions in formal signing ceremony Tuesday in Austin, saying the bill would save the lives of thousands of unborn Texans.
Perry declared the measure emergency legislation and had already officially signed the bill into law.
Effective Sept. 1, doctors must perform sonograms before abortions, must describe the presence of internal organs or limbs and must make the fetal heartbeat audible.
The bill also requires performance of a sonogram 24 hours before abortion except in medical emergencies
Women may opt out of seeing the image and hearing the heartbeat, but must sign a statement acknowledging the refusal before receiving the sonogram.
A woman may opt out of hearing the description of the image if her pregnancy is a result of rape or incest; if she’s a minor obtaining an abortion under judicial bypass, or if the fetus has a fatal condition or abnormality.
In the event the woman lives more than 100 miles from the nearest abortion facility, the waiting period is shortened from 24 to two hours.
During the ceremony Tuesday, Perry praised the bill’s authors, Central Texas Republican Rep. Sid Miller and Houston Republican Sen. Dan Patrick.
“Every life lost to abortion is a tragedy we all must work together to prevent, and I commend Rep. Miller and Sen. Patrick for their hard work on this significant legislation,” Perry said.
“This important bill will ensure that every Texas woman seeking an abortion has all the facts about the life she is carrying, and understands the devastating impact of such a life-changing decision.”