Debate continues over abortion sonogram bill

It's a hot topic that has been on both the agenda the Texas Legislature.

Senate Bill 16 requires doctors to perform a sonogram with audible heartbeat to a patient considering abortion.

Those opposing the bill are outraged that legislators would come between a doctor and patient.

Under the bill, women can choose not to view the sonogram or listen to the heartbeat but would have to listen to an explanation of the images except in cases of rape, incest or if there are fetal abnormalities.

It's a controversial issue that's been a hot button topic for years.

Last week, senators approved legislation that could changeTtexas abortion law.

"I have seen so many lives saved because of the ultrasound," said Yolanda Chapa from McAllen Pregnancy Center.

Supporters like Chapa said she believes a law like this could help put a stop to abortions.

"At 12 to 13-14 weeks, we've seen babies fighting for their lives and that has a tremendous impact on these mothers," said Chapa.

Chapa said she's seen sonograms save babies firsthand.

But opponents said that the government shouldn't interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, and they think it's traumatic for women in an already difficult situation.

Gloria Kelm said she remembers when abortion was illegal, and she said women should feel free to exercise their right to have a safe abortion.

"It should be something that's between the woman involved and the physician," said Kelm. "Those are really the only 2 people that need to be involved in this|certainly not the legislature of the state of Texas."

Terry Sallas Merritt, vice president of Whole Woman's Health, a clinic that provides abortions and healthcare, has been at the capitol fighting against this bill.

"There are several components in this law that are upsetting in a lot of different levels, but for us, the most important one is the idea that women need to jump through some more hurdles cross some more barriers in order to obtain an abortion which is there legal right to do," said Meritt.

Merrit said women are aware of what an abortion means, and in her experience, if a woman is set on an abortion, a sonogram does not change her mind.

The bill was approved by the Texas Senate last week and has been sent to the House.