AUSTIN, Texas, January 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Texas governor Rick Perry is throwing his weight behind legislation to require doctors to show women a sonogram of their unborn child before having an abortion, declaring the issue a legislative “emergency.”

As an emergency item on the legislative agenda, the state congress will have the option of voting on the measure within the first 30 days of the current legislative session.

In addition to the sonogram, the bill would also require doctors to give mothers a detailed description of their child and his state of development, including the presence of limbs and internal organs. Mothers will also listen to their children’s heartbeat, and must be given information about abortion alternatives no less than 24 hours before the abortion occurs.

Perry’s decision to fast track the legislation was announced at a speech before the Texas Rally for Life, held on Saturday in Austin, the state capital.

“Nearly 40 years have passed since the tragedy of Roe vs. Wade was decided by the United States Supreme Court, and since then, fifty million, fifty million children have lost their chances,” Perry told the crowd.

“That is a catastrophic number.  That’s twice the population of this entire state. It’s pretty hard to imagine people of good conscience sitting idly by through this, and in Texas we haven’t. We have actively worked against that Roe vs. Wade decision.  We have taken great strides in protecting the unborn.”

After listing previous legislative measures, such as parental notification and parental consent laws, Perry added, “today I am pleased to announce that I am designating the sonogram bill an emergency item for the 87th legislative session.”

“A woman seeking an abortion must be given a sonogram, ensuring that she understands the full impact of her decision, a decision that can scar her physically and otherwise for the rest of her life. When you consider the magnitude of that decision, ensuring that someone understands what is truly at stake, seems to be a small step, in my opinion.”

The decision by Perry to fast-track the legislation was praised by pro-life organizations, and denounced by the abortion provider Planned Parenthood, which has a policy of opposing measures that require potential abortion clients to be informed about their child and options before undergoing the procedure.

A similar bill was defeated in the Texas House in 2009.