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Texas Senate Approves Sonogram Bill

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A doctor conducts an ultrasound scan. (credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A doctor conducts an ultrasound scan. (credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN (AP/KRLD) - The Texas Senate has given its final approval to a bill requiring doctors to perform a sonogram before performing an abortion.

The measure requires a doctor to perform the sonogram at least 24 hours in advance, unless the woman lives more than 100 miles away from the closest abortion clinic. It requires the doctor to give the woman the option to see the sonogram and hear the fetal heartbeat.

There are exemptions if the woman is a victim of rape or incest or if the fetus has fatal abnormalities.

Sen. Wendy Davis of Arlington added one change to the bill.  The change has to do with the time a woman has to wait between sonogram and abortion. If she lives more than 100 miles away from a facility, the wait is 2 hours.  If not, the wait is 24 hours.

KRLD’s Robert Wood reports from the capitol

Sen. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican, says he hopes the bill will reduce the number of abortions. Critics say the measure is designed to intimidate women.

“All this does is say if a surgical center does 50 or more abortions a year they would not be exempt from that.” says Patrick.

In a release Tuesday, Governor Perry said “the Texas Senate has taken admirable action today by passing this significant sonogram legislation, and I want to thank Rep. Sid Miller and Sen. Dan Patrick for their work on this issue. 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.”

The bill now goes back to the House, which has already passed its own version.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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