Appeals court denies re-hearing request on lawsuit against Sonogram Law


This morning, a federal appeals court denied a request to re-hear a lawsuit against our Texas Sonogram Law, which requires abortionists to show women a pre-abortion sonogram.  The court's denial struck down the last remaining court challenge against the law.


The lawsuit, brought forth by the Center for Reproductive Rights, alleged that the Pro-Life Texas Sonogram Law violated abortionists' First Amendment rights by forcing them to disclose “political” and “irrelevant” information to patients.  The lawsuit also charged the law as being too vague for abortionists to follow.


Yet, a three-judge panel from 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law last month, saying that “the required disclosures of a sonogram, the fetal heartbeat, and their medical descriptions are the epitome of truthful, non-misleading information.”


The Center for Reproductive Rights immediately asked for a rehearing before the entire 5thCircuit Court, which today was denied.


Texas Right to Life Legislative Director, John Seago, who has been closely monitoring the suit since last summer, comments on the court’s decision:


“Abortion advocates have launched a fierce media campaign against the Sonogram Law, accusing the law of being unconstitutional and unjust; however, when this informed consent measure had a fair trial and was reasonably considered through the proper judicial venues, the court reaffirmed it and rejected any opportunity for further attacks.  This is a constitutionally-sound piece of legislation that will empower women with relevant information.”


The Texas Sonogram Law requires abortionists to perform a pre-abortion sonogram at least 24 hours before an abortion.  The abortionist must describe the sonogram image to the mother, pointing out the child’s head, arms, and legs, as well as make the child’s heartbeat audible for the mother to hear. 


Women may opt out of receiving the verbal explanation if the child has an irreversible, previously documented fetal abnormality.  Women may also opt out if they certify in writing that they are a victim of rape or incest.  The 24 hour wait period is shortened to two hours for women who live more than 100 miles away from an abortion committer.


To view the court order, click here.


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