Steven Aden

The basic components of a choice are easiest understood as a selection of one option out of the two or more options that are presented at any given time. Often choices are simple: vanilla or rocky road, for example. But sometimes they are difficult, especially if the choice in view carries life-altering—and perhaps even life-ending—consequences. One thing, however, is for sure—when only one avenue or one side is presented there is no real choice to be made.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott understands this and also understands that Planned Parenthood hasn’t really been providing mothers in Texas with a choice when it comes to abortion. Therefore, he supported passage of a new law that requires doctors to show mothers a sonogram of their babies before aborting them. Once they see the child, they can make a real (informed) choice to allow Planned Parenthood to kill him or her. Or not, more than likely, since studies have shown that mothers who see their babies before making that decision overwhelmingly choose life.

This law—the Sonogram Bill—was immediately challenged in court upon its passage, and federal district court Judge Sam Sparks halted parts of the law’s implementation just two days before they would have gone into effect. In turn, Abbott appealed Sparks’ decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which reversed Sparks’ decision by declaring the law constitutional earlier this week.

In expressing the court’s opinion, Chief Judge Edith Jones said that Texas had “legitimate interests in protecting the potential life within [mothers].” And concerning the issue of making informed choices, Jones wrote, “Denying [a mother] up-to-date medical information is more of an abuse to her ability to decide than providing the information.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry responded by calling the ruling “a victory for all who stand in defense of life.”

He also addressed the fact that women now have the information necessary to make an informed choice: “Every life lost to abortion is a tragedy, and this important sonogram legislation ensures that every Texas woman seeking an abortion has all the facts about the life she is carrying, and understands the devastating impact of such a life-ending decision.”

But not everyone was happy with the fact that Texas women now have a choice. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, referred to the 5th Circuit’s ruling as “abhorrent.”


Steven Aden

Steven H. Aden is senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom (www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org).