Senator Bob Deuell

February 24, 2011
CONTACT: Don Forse
(512) 463-0102

Letter to the Editor

To: The Dallas Morning News

Re: "Editorial: Abortion bill is unwarranted state intrusion on woman’s right to choose," 2.22.11

Your recent editorial on the "women's right to know" bill (the sonogram bill) incorrectly interpreted the motivation for, and effect of, this legislation.

The bill is not intended to punish or impose guilt on anyone nor should it. Informed consent before any medical treatment is an absolute necessity. SB 16 ensures that women exercising their legal right to abortion will receive proper informed consent regarding the actual medical procedure and the growth and development of the child. This is something rarely done by physicians performing abortions, creating the need for legislation that protects the physical and emotional health of women considering abortion. Women facing this difficult decision deserve no less.

SB 16 does not require women to hear the heartbeat nor see sonogram images of the baby. The bill does require a verbal description of the child. Opponents of SB 16 seem to ignore the guilt some women experience when they learn of the aborted child's development. As a practicing family physician for 25 years, I value the physician-patient relationship and appreciate the concerns of the two physician groups that had reservations about the bill.

However, abortion is the only medical procedure where the death of a human being is the desired result. That person does not have a chance to establish a physician-patient relationship. SB 16 allows the citizens of Texas to advocate for that unborn child just as we do with other laws regarding injury to an unborn child and in providing prenatal care to low-income pregnant women. Yes, deciding whether to have an abortion is an agonizing decision. But as I said during debate in the Senate, "Cannot we at least draw the line at giving full and informed consent to the mother and give the child one last chance to survive?"

If done properly and with the right attitude, the requirements of SB 16 can be provided compassionately and respectfully in a very difficult situation.

Bob Deuell, M.D.
Member, Texas Senate
Greenville, TX

NOTE: To read the original Dallas Morning News editorial, go to and search "abortion bill is unwarranted state intrusion."