Thursday, February 17, 2011

but wut does dat even mean?! SB 16 & HB 201

how unborn children feel about
the Sonogram Bill
I've been so stoked about the Sonogram Bill (street names: Senate Bill 16 & House Bill 201) ever since I heard about it and every Texan Pro-Lifer I know has been excited about it too! But... what exactly makes up the bill that is behind all this excitement? These are my findings!

So- This isn't the first time the Sonogram Bill has come up in Texas. Apparently it has gotten out of the Senate the past two sessions but hasn't been able to be heard in the House. BUT this year, Gov. Perry & Speaker Joe Straus declared that legislation to require a sonogram before a woman has an abortion would be an EMERGENCY ITEM. I love the Texas Alliance for Life, just f.y.i.

but wut iz an "emergency item" anywayz?
An "emergency" bill is simply a bill that can be acted upon within the first 60 days of session.  Bills are normally not allowed to be voted on the floor until the end of filing (60 days into the session).
-Sen. Dan Patrick's website

I was kind of surprised by Straus' support on this because I'd been under the impression that he is not a supporter of right to life issues... so I checked up on his voting records and it seems kind of shady to me still. Finding ties between Straus and NARAL/Planned Parenthood just kind of make me uneasy. I guess at this point, for me at least, I'm like whatever because the bill got emergency item status so I'm just going to be happy with that and deal with Joe "not really sure if I'm completely Pro-Life apparently" Straus later.

Sen. Dan Patrick
 So one of the big important people behind this bill is Sen. Dan Patrick. He filed a similar bill in 2009 (but it never made it to a hearing in the House). He's super Pro-Life and great and I got to meet him at the Austin Coalition for Life Banquet- cool! Another big important guy behind this is Rep. Todd Smith who filed the bill this year.

but wut does da bill even do?!

Rep. Smith's bill initially included that prior to an abortion, a doctor must do the following:
(1)  perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman on whom the abortion is to be provided;

(2)  display the live, real-time obstetric ultrasound images in a quality consistent with current medical practice in a manner so that the pregnant woman may view them;

(3)  provide, in a manner understandable to a layperson, a simultaneous verbal explanation of the results of the live ultrasound images, including a medical description of the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, and the presence of arms, legs, external members and internal organs; and

(4)  make audible the live, real-time heart auscultation, when present, for the pregnant woman to hear, in a quality consistent with current medical practice and simultaneously provide, in a manner understandable to a layperson, a verbal explanation of the live heart auscultation.
more info.
Some amendments were made to the bill before being approved by the Senate. Rather than the initial 2 hours before an abortion, now a woman must be given a sonogram of her unborn child 24 hours before her planned abortion time. Also, the woman must be given the chance to see the baby (she can close her eyes if she wants to) on the sonogram and she must hear a description of the baby (she can tune it out or cover her ears) and the baby's heartbeat. Exceptions can be made if the woman is a victim of rape or incest or if there is a serious abnormality in the unborn child, in which case the mother would not have to hear a description of her unborn child's development.

If the bill makes it through the House with a 2/3 majority, which I am thinking it will because there is a lot of Pro-Life support in the House right now, then it'll be a law and it'll be awesome. Only hindrance I've read about is just the whole Joe Straus as Speaker thing... read more here if ya wanna, even though the article is from before he was elected. Oh p.s. I love Texas Right to Life. Here's a little picture I found on the Texas Legislature website that shows where we are right now.

People are getting all angry about the bill because somehow it is invasive and wrong and hurts the doctor-patient relationship, but I'm pretty sure it hurts the mother-child relationship a little bit more! And, if it's not a life, as Planned Parenthood and a lot of people would like to think, then what's the harm? If it's not a life then there really should be no issue with performing the sonogram anyways. Sonograms are windows into the womb and if there isn't life in there then you're just looking through a window at an empty room, so I don't understand why the opposition is getting all pestered and uptight IF it isn't life after all. Around 81,000 abortions are performed annually in Texas... imagine how many lives this bill could save. I get giddy just thinking about it! Now, for the foster care reform issue... kidding... saving that for another day.

One person getting all mad about this is Sen. Leticia Van de Putte from San Antonio. Her thing is that: "We seem to worship what we cannot see, but once it’s here there is little support to keep the child healthy, educated and protected." Even as a Pro-Lifer I agree with her- I don't think that's a very good argument on her part to oppose this bill. She's kind of saying that we should kill what we can't support... why not LOVE what we "can't support" and instead of making changes to increase abortions let's make changes to eliminate the "need" for abortions (in quotes because there is no need for abortion, but there is need for some changes to support young mothers, foster care reform, the adoption process, etc.). Sen. Van de Putte has been quoted as the Pro-C opinion in pretty much every article I read about the bill and that kind of bothers me because her opinion is compassionate in a way (like, just the part that involves helping children after they're born, not the "it's okay to kill unborn children" part) and I, in all my infinite 19-year-old political knowledge, think she should refocus her attention from making Pro-Lifers look heartless and focused on unborn children and find the common ground we all share- LOVE.

If you really want to get fancy & knowledgeable, read the full text of HB 201 here!

sho close!

this is my face on the day when the Sonogram Bill made it through the Senate- aka today.
just wait to see what happens to my face when it gets through the House.


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