Judge Strikes Down Texas Ultrasound Requirement

Posted: Aug 30, 2011 7:02 PM

An injunction has been granted against a law that would require a sonogram for any woman considering an abortion in Texas. Life News has the story:

The new law in Texas allowing women considering an abortion a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child beforehand is supposed to go into effect any day now, but that may not happen thanks to an activist judge.

The law is slated to take effect on Thursday, but abortion advocates filed a lawsuit seeking to stop it and the case could take years to sort out in court.

UDPDATE:  U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks today issued an injunction in advance of the September 1 date the law is supposed to go into effect.

He ruled in a two-page order that parts of the state’s new sonogram law are unconstitutional and prevented Texas officials from issuing any fines or penalties against abortion practitioners who do not follow the law while the lawsuit continues. He claimed Texas has no right to tell abortion practitioners they should allow women a chance to see an ultrasound of an abortion — even though one is typically done to determine the age of the baby at the time of the abortion. Judge Sparks also claimed the law is supposedly vague and contradictory and makes it so abortion practitioners who think they are following the law could be running afoul of it.

Elizabeth Graham, the director of Texas Right to Life, said in an email before today’s ruling that Judge Sparks has been a thorn in the side of the law — even before issuing a ruling on it.

“In a shocking move, an activist federal judge dismissed our amicus brief submitted to the court in defense of our new Texas Sonogram Law,” she said. “The well-known pro-abortion judge claimed that he’s not going to allow politics in his court. I guess what he really meant was any politics that differ from his own.”

The Texas Right to Life brief was authored on behalf of the very legislators who passed the ultrasound bill and, in it, they the legislators explained their intent to the judge in passing the law.

Graham says she isn’t surprised because she believes the ultrasound law is a groundbreaking one that other states may follow as it joins a handful of similar measures on the books in other states.

“The Sonogram Law requires that doctors who are about to commit an abortion must show the image of the baby to the mother and give her the opportunity to hear her baby’s heartbeat. The law is simple, straightforward, and common sense,” Graham said. “But the abortion industry fears sonograms — moms choose Life when they see their baby’s face or toes, or thumbs. Since Roe v. Wade, there has never been a more powerful tool to change a mother’s mind than seeing the face of her preborn baby.”

This ruling is unfortunate considering the chances of a woman having an abortion decrease significantly after seeing a sonogram of their baby.