Texas Sonogram Law Found to Violate First Amendment

VIDEO: Planned Parenthood Protests Texas Sonogram Law

Planned Parenthood protests Texas’ new sonogram law, which would have required that abortion-providing doctors force women who have chosen to abort fetuses from their wombs to view sonograms of the fetuses first, and also to listen to any heartbeat within those fetuses that might exist at the time of those sonograms.  

A federal judge today found that the Texas “sonogram law” violates the First Amendment and blocked enforcement of important provisions of the statute.  This law would have forced women seeking to terminate a pregnancy to undergo a medically unnecessary and intrusive transvaginal sonogram. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), the case was certified against the law as a class action, and a preliminary injunction was granted until those areas of the case can be resolved. The Center filed a class action lawsuit against the new ultrasound requirements on June 13 on behalf of Texas medical providers performing abortions and their patients.

Judge Sam Sparks ruled that doctors cannot be penalized if they do not show a woman seeking an abortion the sonogram images, describe those images to her or play the sound of the fetal heart, if the woman declines this information.

In the opinion, according to CRR, he held that “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.”

“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,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Politicians have no business telling doctors how to practice medicine or meddling in women’s private medical decisions.”

In requesting the preliminary injunction, the Center argued 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 a women seeking termination of pregnancy, even if she declines.  The Center also argued that the law discriminates against women by subjecting them to paternalistic “protections” not imposed on men.

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  • ahunt

    Sanity…in Texas…from a Poppa Bush appointee…?


    Pigs are flying.



  • divine-oubliette

    Sanity at least from the judge, if not the damnable politicians!

    Some days I really LOATHE ‘my’ state and it’s paternalistic BS.

    BTW legislators some of us do look at our ultrasound without coercion, it allowed me to say goodbye BUT this should not and can not be legislated!

  • crowepps



    Reading the decision makes it clear what a sloppy, half-assed job the legislature did in creating the law.  The fact that it contradicted other laws, with this law requiring the doctor to do things and other laws requiring doctors to do things that were the opposite, isn’t as bad as the internal contradictions, where one law demanded people do two different things at the same time.

  • arcinoh

    If a pharmacist can refuse to fill a prescription due to a conscience clause (ie “It’s against my morals to do this”), can a doctor refuse to give medically inaccurate information because it’s against their morals to provide information they believe is medically inaccurate, and still provide abortion services because they believe it’s moral to provide a full range of health related services?

  • crowepps

    Just as an example, a Catholic doctor in the ER of a community hospital not affiliated with any religion and owned by the local taxpayers is protected by a law that says he cannot be fired for refusing to tell a woman with an ectopic pregnancy that she needs an abortion to remove it, while a Jewish doctor in the ER of a Catholic hospital can be fired if he tells a woman in the same circumstances that if she remains there she will have to sacrifice a tube, but if she transfers to a different hospital she can save her fertility AND her life.


    Funny how ‘conscience’ only is important if it contributes to tricking women into becoming pregnant, cutting off their options to prevent pregnancy, forcing them to continue a pregnancy, mutilating them because their pregnancy has complications, or just outright letting them die, but a doctor wanting to follow his conscience to save their lives can be told to shut up and do what he’s told.

  • ack

    Can I have your permission to send this to other people, with credit given to “crowepps of rhrealitycheck.com”? This is the single best explanation I’ve ever seen of conscience laws.

  • ahunt

    Oh, just steal it, ack, and tell crowepps after the fact…done it twice before, always crediting Crowepps, ans she hasn’t hurt me yet.

  • crowepps

    Anybody on this site can repost or rephrase anything I put on here without asking, with or without credit, so long as they don’t edit it so as to change the meaning (and then attribute it to me).


    Anything that helps the cause along, people, it should always first be about whether it helps the cause progress.

    “Information wants to be free.”  Stewart Brand

  • crowepps

    Spread the word — maybe we’ll open a few minds and let some light in