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Texas Gov. Signs Sonogram Bill, House Approves Bill To Strip Funding for Hospitals and Clinics that Provide Abortion Care

Texas Gov. Signs Sonogram Bill, House Approves Bill To Strip Funding for Hospitals and Clinics that Provide Abortion Care

May 20, 2011 — Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) on Thursday signed a bill (HB 15) that requires a woman seeking an abortion to have a sonogram at least 24 hours before the procedure, AP/CNBC reports (AP/CNBC, 5/19). State Sen. Dan Patrick (R) called the bill "one of the strongest [antiabortion-rights measures] in the nation."

The bill states that a doctor must give a woman the option to view the sonogram and attempt to hear the heartbeat. If she opts out, the doctor must describe the image of the fetus, including any internal organs or limbs. The bill includes exemptions for survivors of rape or incest or if the fetus has fatal abnormalities. It also exempts women living more than 100 miles away from abortion clinics (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/4).

Texas House Votes To Strip Funding for Facilities that Provide Abortion Care and Abortion-Related Services

The Texas House on Thursday voted 95-45 to approve an amendment to prohibit state funding for all hospitals and clinics that provide abortion care, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. The amendment was attached to a bill (SB 23) that would expand the privatization of Medicaid services in an attempt to reduce costs.

Opponents of the bill said receiving abortion care in the state is becoming so difficult that it could "drive women underground to have the procedure performed by unlicensed physicians," according to the AP/Chronicle. Others said language in the bill that also strips funding for "abortion-related services" was too vague and could be misinterpreted to include services such as sonograms.

The bill will face a final House reading on Friday before moving back to the Senate (Weissert, AP/Houston Chronicle, 5/20).