AUSTIN, March 9, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Texas House has joined the Senate to require women to see a sonogram image of their unborn child before undergoing an abortion, in a 107-42 vote held yesterday.

The legislation would require women to receive and view the image between 24 and 72 hours before an abortion, and listen to the heartbeat as well.

Governor Rick Perry, who fast-tracked the bill by making it an “emergency item” for the current legislative session, warmly hailed its passage.

“I commend the Texas House for passing this legislation, which bolsters our efforts to protect life by ensuring Texans are fully informed when considering such an important decision,” said Perry in a press release. “The decision to choose life becomes clear when someone has access to all the information and I look forward to this important legislation reaching my desk very soon.”

While the House version requires the sonogram for all women seeking an abortion, the Senate version makes an exception in rape and incest cases. It also requires only a two hour period between the sonogram and the abortion.  The main sponsor of the Senate version says that although he supports the stronger House version, he believes it cannot pass in the more liberal upper chamber.

If one of the two bills is signed into law, Texas will join 17 other states with abortion sonogram legislation, Reuters reports. The bill has failed in two previous votes in 2007 and 2009, but its prospects are better this year with a stronger Republican legislative majority.

Texas already requires women seeking an abortion to be made aware of information about abortion alternatives (see the Texas “Woman’s Right to Know” informational pamphlet here and abortion alternatives resource directory here.

The Abortion Advantage abortion centre, for example, meets the legal requirement by stating on its website http://www.abortionadvantage.com/abortion-laws.html,  “The state law does not require that you view the materials- you have the right to refuse the information. It requires that we inform you of the materials and how you may obtain them.” If you choose to view the materials you may do so by CLICKING HERE: Texas Dept. of Health - A Woman’s Right to Know Act - HB15.