Bill restricting abortion passes in Texas

May 6, 2011 at 4:22 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, May 6 (UPI) -- A Texas bill requiring women planning abortions to undergo sonograms has received final legislative approval.

Gov. Rick Perry, who strongly supported the measure, is expected to sign it, The New York Times reported.

The House voted Thursday 94-41 to accept changes made to the bill in the Senate, The Austin American-Statesman said. The House passed a previous version by a two-thirds majority.

The law requires sonograms to be done at least 24 hours before an abortion, although the Senate shortened the wait to two hours for women who live more than 100 miles from an abortion provider. Women would be required to listen to the doctor explain what the sonogram means and would have the option of listening to the fetal heartbeat.

Women who have been victims of rape or incest would be exempt. In a controversial move, the Senate also exempted women if the fetus shows "an irreversible medical condition or abnormality."

Suzanne Shepherd of the Downs Syndrome Association of Central Texas accused the legislature of stigmatizing the condition. But Rep. Sid Miller, the Republican author of the bill, said the change simply protects women who have already been through several tests.

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