Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Temporarily Blocked
Special Report - October 26, 2011
A federal district court judge has ruled that a portion of the Woman’s Right to Know Act not take effect as scheduled today. On October 25, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles preliminarily enjoined and prohibited from being enforced the portion of the law that would require an ultrasound and the presentation of certain information relating to the ultrasound to a woman before she could procure an abortion. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Reproductive Rights, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America challenged the constitutionality of the law in September on behalf of a number of abortion providers “and their patients seeking abortions.”
This week, Judge Eagles granted part of a motion for a preliminary injunction, concluding as “likely in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” the section that would require the person performing the ultrasound “display the imaged produced from the ultrasound ‘so that the [patient] may view them” and to “give ‘a simultaneous explanation of what the display is depicting, which shall include the presence, location, and dimensions of the unborn child within the uterus,’ and ‘a medical description of the images, which shall include the dimensions of the embryo or fetus and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable.’” The ACLU, Center for Productive Rights, and Planned Parenthood argued that “these speech-and-display requirements violate the First Amendment by compelling unwilling speakers to deliver the state’s message discouraging abortion.” The State responded, arguing that “the state has three compelling state interests: protecting the psychological health of the patient, preventing coercive abortions, and expressing its preference for the life of the unborn.”
Judge Eagles did not rule on the merits of the case, but rather, issued the preliminary injunction to prevent the specified portion of the law from going into effect today because she found that those bringing the lawsuit “are likely to succeed on the merits of the First Amendment challenge” to the law. She went on to explain that they had “demonstrated that the Act likely poses a direct threat to their fundamental constitutional rights” and “that they would be irreparably harmed.” For these reasons, Judge Eagles enjoined the State from enforcing section 90-21.85 of the Woman’s Right to Know Act. The other portions of the Act, including the 24-hour waiting period and the requirement that women be provided with extensive information related to medical risks, the age of the child, and the availability of other resources, go into effect today, October 26, as scheduled.
“It is unfortunate that the abortion industry, embodied by the Plaintiffs in this case, is so opposed to a woman meeting her child before deciding to terminate her pregnancy,” stated House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam (RWake), a primary sponsor of the law, in a press release. “While we are disappointed in the partial injunction, it is also a partial victory that will result in women obtaining important information before an abortion.”
Informed Consent Law Challenged - February 16, 2011
Senate Overrides Abortion Bill Veto - July 29, 2011
House Overrides Informed Consent Veto - July 27, 2011
Governor Vetoes Informed Consent - June 28, 2011
Standing for Life as Session Ends - June 18, 2011
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