Just yesterday, the Florida Senate passed the nation’s most restrictive law on parental notification requirements for minors seeking abortion access. Now, abortion rights are being eroded in another state, as Texas joins the handful of states that require women to undergo a sonogram at least 24 hours before having an abortion. Women can choose whether to see the results and hear the fetus’ heartbeat, but doctors are legally required to describe what the sonogram shows — including any features like legs, arms and internal organs.
The Texas legislature passed the bill at the end of this week, and Governor Rick Perry is expected to sign it into law. The intent behind the law is clear: Texas politicians want women to feel guilty about the choice to have an abortion. “This will be one of the strongest pieces of sonogram legislation in the nation,” the bill’s author, Representative Sid Miller, said. He added that he believes the law will “save numerous unborn lives.”
The bill exempts women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Critics of the bill have argued that in addition to interfering with the doctor-patient relationship, it will also make the logistics of abortion access much more complicated. NARAL Pro-Choice Texas said in a statement,
“[Legislators] consistently fail to publicly mention the hardship that the 24-waiting period between the sonogram and abortion will cause for those who live in the 93% of Texas counties that don’t have an abortion provider. Indeed, this bill is designed to shame women, as if we are daft creatures unable to make personal, private medical decisions without the paternalistic oversight of legislators.”
Other states, like North Carolina, are considering similar pieces of legislation. Such obvious intrusions into women’s decision-making processes are disturbing, and illustrate the gains made by politicians who are deeply intent on restricting women’s ability to access abortion.
Photo from Flickr.
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