Texas
2:25 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Abortion Sonogram Law Cleared by Court

Texas can enforce a controversial abortion law while it’s being challenged in court. The ruling came this morning from a federal appeals court in New Orleans. The law requires doctors to perform a sonogram on a woman seeking an abortion and to read her the description of it.

The Texas Tribune’s Emily Ramshaw writes:

In an opinion, the judges said the measure's opponents "failed to demonstrate constitutional flaws" in the measure, which they said was "fatal" to their effort to prevent it from taking effect.

The abortion sonogram law, which lawmakers passed last legislative session, requires doctors to perform sonograms and describe what they see, including the size of the fetus and the length of its limbs. The measure has been in court almost since it passed, with opponents arguing it violates doctors' First Amendment rights by forcing them to disclose information that isn't medically necessary and that the woman may not want to hear.

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Austin District Judge Sam Sparks' temporary order this morning, preventing the sonogram measure from taking effect.

Opponents of the law wasted no time in decrying the court’s decision. Center for Reproductive Rights president and CEO Nancy Northup said, “This clears the way for the enforcement of an insulting and intrusive law whose sole purpose is to harass women and dissuade them from exercising their constitutionally protected reproductive rights. Until today, every court that has reviewed similarly intrusive laws have ruled the laws unconstitutional.”

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