By Kelley Shannon
“New state laws on abortion, property rights, drunken driving and other aspects of Texans’ lives go into effect Thursday.
Along with making deep cuts in the state’s budget, Texas lawmakers this year passed bills cracking down on drunk drivers and making it more difficult for the government to take private property. Much of the legislation takes effect Thursday, the first day of Texas’ fiscal year. One new law requires a doctor to attempt to show a woman seeking an abortion a sonogram of the fetus, to describe the image and to provide the sound of the fetal heartbeat before the procedure. Federal Judge Sam Sparks is expected to rule before Thursday on a challenge to the law by the Center for Reproductive Rights. ‘This law is intrusive, patronizing to women and unconstitutional,’ said Julie Rikelman, the center’s lead attorney on the case. She said patients should be given only the information and medical tests appropriate for the circumstances and that a doctor should not have to act as a ‘government agent.’ Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who signed the bill into law, believes it will protect unborn life, spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said. ‘It is absolutely crucial that women have all the information at their fingertips when making such a life-changing decision,’ she said.