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08.30.11 - (PRESS RELEASE) Finding that a Texas law requiring doctors to display and describe the sonograms of women seeking abortions violates the First Amendment—and certifying as a class action a lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights to overturn the law—a federal judge today blocked enforcement of key provisions of the law until the case is resolved.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks granted a preliminary injunction, ruling that doctors cannot be penalized if they violate the law’s requirement that doctors show women seeking abortions their sonogram images, describe the images in detail, and play the sound of the fetal heartbeat if the women decline this information.
Wrote Sparks: “The Act compels physicians 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.”
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights: "Today’s ruling is a huge victory for women in Texas and a clear signal to the state legislature that it went too far when it passed this law. Politicians have no business telling doctors how to practice medicine or meddling in women’s private medical decisions.”
On June 13 the Center filed a class action lawsuit against the new ultrasound requirements behalf of Texas medical providers performing abortions and their patients.
The Center then requested the preliminary injunction on June 29, arguing that the ultrasound requirements violate the First Amendment rights of both the doctor and the patient by forcing physicians to deliver politically-motivated communications to women, even if she declines. The Center also argued that the law discriminates against women by subjecting them to paternalistic “protections” not imposed on men.