Written by Jennifer Carr Allmon, Associate Director, Texas Catholic Conference
August 3, 2012
Sonogram Bill Signing Ceremony
Texas women deserve better. Mimi Swartz missed the real story to be told about the sonogram bill—it is not one of men forcing laws on women—it’s actually the power of women that she’s overlooked. As the granddaughter of Billie Carr, the “Godmother” of liberal democrats in Texas, I can confidently state I was a raised a feminist. I was taught the power and importance of women in the world. As I learned the truth about abortion in college, I became outraged at just how badly abortion hurts women, despite having heard for years the mantra of “women deserve choice.” I understand that women deserve better, andso I made the choice to become a pro-life advocate. The sonogram bill that passed last session is one small step at giving women power—after all, isn’t knowledge power?
I was disappointed to see so many facts left out or overlooked in the feature story. To characterize the actions of the Legislature as decisions made solely by men while “women were boxed out of the decisions”isinaccurate. Look at the bill signing picture in the magazine—there are more women in that shot than men. As one of those women, I can tell you that the picture does not do justice to the dozens of women there to celebrate the signing of this law. I attended every legislative hearing on this bill, and can attest that there were more women than men there is support of the bill every time. In fact, more men registered in opposition to HB 15, the sonogram bill, than women did in the Senate hearing. Most telling is that sonogram bill itself had more women than men as co-authors.
A second major flaw in the article is the emphasis on the House floor debate about woman seeking abortions being forced by this bill to endure a transvaginal sonogram. Planned Parenthood’s own doctor testified in the Senate hearing that an ultrasound, including a transvaginal ultrasound if the baby is less than 8 weeks old, is already a required procedure for all abortion clients. This law does not add a single new procedure that wasn’t already being performed on all women seeking an abortion. It requires that women are provided with accurate information about a serious medical procedure, a standard of care that anyone would expect when undergoing a serious medical procedure. It requires that a doctor actually speak with the patient and provide accurate medical information in advance of a serious procedure. These consultations are a standard of care that allow women to be more informed about the risks and complications associated with abortion. I, and thousands of others who supported this bill, hope that this knowledge will give women the power and courage to choose life for their unborn children.
The passage of the sonogram bill was not about men trampling the rights of women. The passage of the sonogram law was historic because of the number of mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives who are willing to fight for a woman’s right to accurate information and standards of care because we believe that women deserve better. The passage of the sonogram bill was historic because of the fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands who care enough for women to stand with them in passing this important law.