* Women must wait a day after sonogram to have abortion
* Republicans at state level push abortion restrictions
By Corrie MacLaggan
AUSTIN, Texas, May 19 Texas Governor Rick Perry
on Thursday signed into law a measure requiring women seeking
an abortion in the state to first get a sonogram.
Texas is one of several U.S. states with strong Republican
legislative majorities proposing new restrictions on abortion
this year. The Republican governor had designated the bill as
an emergency legislative priority, putting it on a fast track.
Under the law, women will have to wait 24 hours after the
sonogram before having an abortion, though the waiting time is
two hours for those who live more than 100 miles (160 km) from
an abortion provider.
"Governor Perry was pleased to sign this important
legislation, which bolsters our efforts to protect life by
ensuring Texans are fully informed when considering such an
important decision," said Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for
A sonogram is an imaging technique using high-frequency
sound waves to produce images of a developing baby in a woman's
Under the measure, women will be offered the option of
hearing the heartbeat and seeing the sonogram image, which they
may decline. But the woman's doctor must describe the image,
explaining the size of the embryo or fetus and the presence of
organs and limbs.
In certain cases, including those involving rape and incest
victims or serious fetal abnormalities, the woman could decline
to hear the description of the sonogram.
Opponents of the legislation said the law interferes in the
doctor-patient relationship by adding a government requirement
for a procedure that could be traumatizing to women going
through an already difficult situation.
During debate on the House floor in March, Democratic state
Representative Carol Alvarado wielded a trans-vaginal probe
used for sonograms early in pregnancy.
"This is government intrusion at its best," she said during
(Editing by Will Dunham)