Skip to comments.Judge strikes down key parts of Texas abortion sonogram law
Posted on 08/30/2011 6:23:15 PM PDT by Hawk720
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked key provisions of Texas' new law requiring a doctor to perform a sonogram before an abortion, ruling the measure violates the free speech rights of both doctors and patients.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks upheld the requirement that sonograms be performed, but struck down the provisions requiring doctors to describe the images to their patients and requiring women to hear the descriptions.
The law made exceptions for women who were willing to sign statements saying they were pregnant as a result of rape or incest or that their fetus had an irreversible abnormality. Sparks questioned whether the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature was trying to "permanently brand" women who are victims of sexual assault.
The law one of dozens of anti-abortion measures that advanced through state capitals across the United States this year takes effect Thursday. The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights had sued to block it.
Supporters argued the law ensures women fully understand what an abortion entails and said some women have regretted having abortions. They said the law would lead to fewer abortions in Texas. About 81,000 abortions are performed every year in Texas.
Opponents argued that requiring doctors to describe a fetus' features would force them to say things against their will and would violate medical ethics requiring doctors to respect a patient's autonomy and act in the patient's best interest.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
If R. v. W. isn’t found to be gross misconduct, this ruling should be. Sparks can’t resist a revealing his prejudice and mocking the legislature.
Citing Planned Parenthood of Se. Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 846 (1992), a US Supreme Court ruling on abortion limitations and Equal Protection, Sparks admits,
This legitimate interest obviously justifies singling out abortion providers and the patients thereof, because they pose a serious potential risk to the life of the fetus that may become a child.’
However, he goes on to admit his prior bias:
“The Court has grave doubts about the wisdom of the Act, but that is no legal basis for invalidating it. The Acts onerous requirements will surely dissuade or prevent many competent doctors from performing abortions, making it significantly more difficult for pregnant women to
obtain abortions. Forcing pregnant women to receive medical treatment from less-skilled providers certainly seems to be at odds with protecting the physical and psychological health and well-being of pregnant women, one of the Acts stated purposes. H.B. 15, Sec. 12(1). However, rational basis review requires this Court to accept even tenuous rationales for the advancement of a legitimate
In short, if the Texas Legislature wishes to prioritize an ideological agenda (2) over the health and safety of women, the Equal Protection Clause does not prevent it from doing so under these circumstances. Accordingly, the Court must reject Plaintiffs Equal Protection arguments. (p. 20/55)
That footnote (2) ?
“2 It is ironic that many of the same people who zealously defend the states righteous duty to become intimately involved in a womans decision to get an abortion are also positively scandalized at the governments gross overreaching in the area of health care.”
So the sonogram will still be performed, but the dr. will just not be able to point out the image of the baby?
As far as I can figure it, the judge didn’t like the penalties and engaged in a bit of ideology by claiming that the law “advances an ideological agenda,” by requiring the abortionist to describe any cardiac activity or the presence of limbs. How can a doctor “ideologically disagree” with the facts of these findings, if they are on the sonogram?