Court Rules Texas Abortion-Sonogram Law Constitutional
In Texas, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Texas law that mandates women seeking an abortion to have a sonogram examination and to listen to a physician's detailed description of the fetus, including whether it has developed limbs or internal organs.
The people who support the law say it is designed to ensure that women are fully informed about abortions. More importantly, they want to discourage women from undergoing the procedure. The law, enacted last year requires all women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound scan, except for those who certify that they are rape victims. Victims of rape are permitted to avoid hearing a description of the fetus or embryo.
U.S. District judge Sam Sparks of Austin, Texas ruled that it violates physicians' free-speech rights by compelling them to “advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen.”
However, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Sparks and concluded that the law merely requires physicians to provide 'truthful, non-misleading information.” The fact that the court says that the law does not violate their free-speech rights clears the way for Texas to enforce the sonogram law, according to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.