Post-sonogram waiting period in abortion bill under discussion

Melissa Ayala

Senators on the State Affairs Committee picked up the sonogram bill on Monday to figure out the amount of time women would have to wait between receiving an abortion sonogram and getting an abortion.

The bill was declared an emergency item by Gov. Rick Perry and would require women to receive a sonogram and hear a description of the fetus before getting an abortion.

The House version of the bill would require women to wait 24 hours between the sonogram an the abortion, while the Senate bill would require only a two-hour period between procedures.

The discussion resulted out of a concern by Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, who said women in his district would have to travel more than 100 miles to reach an abortion clinic, and that the 24-hour period would be an inconvenience for them.

The committee came to an agreement to allow the two-hour waiting period option for women who live more than 100 miles away from a clinic or in counties with a population of 60,000 or fewer.

Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, who authored the bill, said the changes were “not significant” and that most abortions do not occur within the rural areas they were discussing but rather in major cities that are in 55 out of 254 counties.

“In 75,000 abortions in Texas, 4,000 were in counties under 60,000 [people],” Patrick said. “That indicates most of our abortions occur in counties over 60,000.”