Texas 'Sonogram Bill' Renewing Controversy

Just this week, Governor Perry declared an "Emergency Issue of Efforts", requiring women considering an abortion to first have a sonogram.  The founder of The Heidi Group, which is dedicated to helping women, girls, and unplanned pregnancies, is giving House Bill 201 her full support.  But not necessarily for the same reasons as other people.

"This has nothing to do with the baby.  It's about protecting the pregnant women by providing a fully-informed consent," Carol Everett said.

H.B 201 has support and is moving through Congress.  It's similar to a bill that made it through the State Senate in the 2009 session, but was blocked in the House.  But Carol Alvardo, a State Representative from Houston, says this bill doesn't need to be a top priority.

"I just don't think it qualifies as an emergency.  We have so many other things going on in our state that should be considered an emergency, like the budget," she said.

The bill would also require the doctor to allow the pregnant woman to hear the baby's heartbeat.  the woman would have the option of declining to see the sonogram or hearing the heartbeat.

"I think it's misplaced priorities.  There is nothing medically proven that having a sonogram is necessary in an abortion," Alvarado said.

But Everett says fully-informed consent is standard for any type of medical procedure, not just abortions.

"Today when somebody has their gall bladder removed, they have a sonogram before they have their gallbladder removed with a fully-informed consent.  We just want to offer women the truth," she said.

The bill would also allow for emergency situations.  If a doctor determines that an abortion is necessary to protect the life and/or well-being of the mother, the same procedures wouldn't apply.

Still, Alvarado says it's putting government where it doesn't belong.

"It is a very personal and private [decision], and here, we would be interfering with the doctor-patient relationship," she said.

Currently, there's no clinic in Wichita Falls that performs abortions.  Alvarado says if the goal of the bill is to lower the number of abortions, then the real answer is having affordable family planning services and contraceptives.

To see the bill in its entirety, click here.

Newschannel 6 also spoke with District 69 State Representative Lanham Lyne about this bill click here to see what he had to say.