AUSTIN, Texas, April 18, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Texas Senate will vote April 19 on a bill that would require women considering an abortion to view an ultrasound image and hear their unborn child’s heartbeat beforehand.

House Bill 15, was passed by the Texas House in March, but has been stalled in the Senate. However, it was approved last week by a Senate committee, and has been sent to the full Senate for vote.

Both House and Senate bills are similar, but with some significant differences.  While the stronger House bill requires that all women seeking an abortion have an ultrasound, the Senate bill makes exception in the case of incest and rape.  In the House bill women are required to view the ultrasound at least 24-72 hours before the scheduled abortion, while the Senate version only requires a two-hour wait.

Upon approval by the Senate, HB 15 is expected to be signed into law by pro-life governor Rick Perry.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood of Northern Texas has put out an urgent plea for Texans to oppose the bill.  A action appeal link on the abortion giant’s local Facebook page directs viewers to a pre-written letter expressing opposition to the bill that can be sent to legislators.

The Planned Parenthood letter calls a sonogram and at least 24 hours notice before an abortion “unnecessary requirements that interfere with the doctor/patient relationship.” “Medically necessary ultrasounds are already a routine part of abortion care,” claims the letter. “Ending a pregnancy is not a decision any woman takes lightly, and she should not be shamed for having made it.”

Pro-life groups, including Texas Right to Life and Texas Alliance for Life, applauded the bill.

“This version provides nearly the greatest informed consent protections allowable by the US Supreme Court to more than 92% of Texas women,” Texas Alliance for Life said. “We strongly support it.”

“This law will protect women by ensuring they receive all the relevant information while considering an abortion; furthermore, this bill protects innocent human life,” said Texas Right to Life. “Texas Right to Life is very enthusiastic about the potential this law has to protect women and save lives.”