Yesterday, federal Judge Sam Sparks dismissed a lawsuit which sought to prevent Texas from enforcing a law requiring abortionists to show women a pre-abortion sonogram.
The lawsuit, brought forth by the Center for Reproductive Rights, alleged that the sonogram law violates abortionists’ First Amendment Rights by forcing them to disclose “irrelevant” information. The plaintiffs also claimed that parts of the law are too vague for abortionists to follow.
Sparks said yesterday that he still believed the law should be struck down because of the perceived First Amendment rights violation, but admitted that his hands were tied by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which last month found the law to be constitutionally sound.
Texas Right to Life Director, Elizabeth Graham, comments on Judge Sparks' ruling:
“The Center for Reproductive Rights, knowing Judge Sparks’ ‘pro-choice’ ideology, hand-picked the Austin-district federal court to strike down this commonsense piece of legislation. Yet, the judicial system, which is designed to keep judicial activists like Sparks from doing harm to our state, upheld the Sonogram Law as constitutional and beneficial to women.
“Texas Right to Life worked with legislators during the 82nd Texas legislative session to craft a solid piece of legislation that would not only pass constitutional muster, but would empower women with all the necessary information they would need to make fully-informed decisions about their pregnancies. Now, the abortion industry in Texas can no longer deceive women about their pregnancies, or rush them through the abortion process without proper medical informed consent, including a real-time visual of the Life they are carrying.”
The Sonogram Law is now enforceable, and requires abortionists to show women a sonogram 24 hours before an abortion, describe the image on the screen – pointing out the child’s head, arms, and legs – and make the child’s heartbeat audible for the mother to hear. The 24-hour waiting period is shortened to two hours for women who live more than 100 miles away from an abortion provider. Additionally, women may opt out of receiving the verbal explanation of the sonogram image if they certify in writing that they are victims of rape or incest.