Gov. Rick Perry grabbed the opportunity of Saturday's 2011 Texas Rally For Life on the steps of the Capitol to announce that he would fast-track a bill in the current legislative session requiring a woman seeking an abortion to be shown a sonogram first.
SB 16 by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, likely will be that bill, although two identical bills are pending in the House. Patrick introduced the same bill in the 2009 session and saw it through passage in the Senate, although not without major changes. It died in the House end-of-session logjam.
This bill will test just how different this über-Republican Legislature will be from the last, only mostly Republican one.
Perry is using his "emergency" declaration power to make it as über as he can.
The governor's office said Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House speaker Joe Straus "agree this issue is important to Texans."
Given that pressure, Perry may get his chance to sign a sonogram bill into law this time around. Still, there will be suspense about key points of that law.
It's a question of how far the Legislature will project itself into the relationship between a pregnant woman, her doctor and her God. That's a place where lawmakers should be loathe to tread.
SB 16, as filed, says:
At least two hours before an abortion, the physician or the physician's agent will perform a sonogram.
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