Judge OKs Texas's Sonogram Law, Making Governor Rick Perry Very, Very Happy

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Texas's dandy new "sonogram law" -- which requires abortion-seeking women to look at a sonogram, hear a description of it from her doctor and listen to a fetal heartbeat -- is legal, a federal court ruled today. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a temporary injunction, issued by Judge Sam Sparks back in August, that had previously prevented portions of the sonogram law from going into effect.

Edith H. Jones, the chief judge on the three-judge panel who made the ruling, wrote that the law does not interfere with either the patient's or the doctor's First Amendment Rights, as the Center For Reproductive Rights, which brought the suit, had claimed. Jones wrote that the sonogram law and other "informed consent laws" don't put an "undue burden" on a woman's right to have an abortion "if they require truthful, nonmisleading, and relevant disclosures." Jones also rejected the argument that portions of the law are "unconstitutionally vague."

In a statement, Nancy Northup, the president of the Center For Reproductive Rights, called the court's ruling "extreme."

"This clears the way for the enforcement of an insulting and intrusive law whose sole purpose is to harass women and dissuade them from exercising their constitutionally protected reproductive rights," she wrote. She added that the CRR is "currently evaluating all available means" to challenge the ruling "and to reverse the noxious tide of anti-choice assaults that this law represents."

Governor Rick Perry, you won't be surprised to learn, disagreed. He issued his own statement shortly after the ruling:

Today's ruling is a victory for all who stand in defense of life. Every life lost to abortion is a tragedy, and this important sonogram legislation ensures that every Texas woman seeking an abortion has all the facts about the life she is carrying, and understands the devastating impact of such a life-ending decision. We will continue to fight any attempt to limit our state's laws that value and protect the unborn.
(Meanwhile, as the governor is busily protecting the rights of the unborn, poor women who need access to life-saving medical care like cervical cancer screenings and pap smears are still very, very screwed.)

Some portions of the law have already been in effect. Sarah Wheat, co-CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region, says the organization began implementing the portions of the sonogram law that were not blocked by the initial injunction on October 1. Women seeking an abortion are now required to have a sonogram 24 hours before their procedure, as well as receive state-mandated literature informing them of alternatives. The literature also claims that abortion is linked to breast cancer, something that is, you know, not remotely true.

With today's ruling, Wheat says, doctors now have to position a sonogram screen so that women have no choice but to see it and have them listen to a fetal heartbeat. That's if one exists: The Guttmacher Institute, a women's health research group, says 88 percent of abortions in the U.S. are performed before 12 weeks, and that heartbeats are typically not audible before 12 weeks. Additionally, the doctor has to verbally read state-mandated information about the sonogram image.

A hearing on a permanent injunction banning the law is scheduled for later this month. But in the meantime, abortion providers must start adhering to the law.

"This court ruling says you have to start putting those requirements in place," Wheat says. "Even more appalling is the court said a woman can decline -- she can say, 'I've got all the information I need, thank you' -- but the doctor still has to provide all those things.

Her 'choice' is plug her ears and cover her eyes. That's what is so significant. Regardless of what she says or what her wishes are, the physician still has provide those steps."

5th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling On Texas Sonogram Law Nancy Northup, CRR, Statement on Sonogram Injunction Ruling

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Steve T
Steve T

All our comments aside, this law will not likely ever be enforced.

Steve T
Steve T

Halldecker

The redistricting case is a political case; it's about the political process--not the same question as the undue burden in this case.

Steve T
Steve T

Halldecker

I was in law school in '86 and '87.  Apparently, the Fifth Ciruit judges attended as well.  What about you?

Halldecker
Halldecker

RE:  Merkin

Has anybody here noted that a "merkin"  is fake pubic hair for females?

DR. STRANGELOVE,   the movie,  introduced us to President Merkin.

Halldecker
Halldecker

Assuming you really want to know,  74-76,  SMU,  I graduated early.  I'll put my three US Supreme Court cases up against your ever getting as far as the Fifth Circuit.

Pat Higginbotham swore me into Federal Courts in '78.

Federal Judges don't live in a vacuum.  They know exactly what they're ordering happen. 

It'll be appealed immediately to the US Supremes,  will give a strong indication of what they're likely to do when they're asked to issue a Stay of the Fifth Circuit.   The actual case will almost certainly be at their door in another two years.

Judge Edith Jones has been Chief Judge since 2006.  She picks the three Judge panels.  She's written and lectured mucho times that the underpinning of Roe v Wade is faulty.  So much for stare decisis,  Judges of lower Courts are required to obey the holdings of higher courts,  in this case the Supremes.  In theory,  they are not to tell the Supremes they screwed up.  She stacked the deck with Judges who agreed with her.  So,  it's not political?

This is an outgrowth of the Planned Parenthood case in the early 90's,  it required MD's tell patients the gestational age and health risks.  Once the camel got its nose into the tent flap,   Shiite Babtists advance inch by inch.

There,  that enough learned discussion to make you happy.

Paul
Paul

Actually, it was President Merkin Muffley ....

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Merkins (pubic toupees) were used when the subject's pubic hair fell out due to syphilis treatments with mercury.  The subject did not want others to know that he could infect them.

Steve T
Steve T

The judges (chief of whom is a woman, author of the opinion) noted that as long as the information is truthful and relevant there is no undue burden.

guest
guest

She cannot be present with every doctor patient experience to know whether or not there is nor undue burden.

Halldecker
Halldecker

You're a DART driver.   'Ledge says you must provide 'truthful and relevant information' to all passengers,  you have their lives and their future under your control.

There is no undue burden,  then?

The reason my friendly Family Practice MD went to Med School and afterward for a PhD for 12 years is so she can decide what 'truthful and relevant information'  her patients need. 

Surely you don't think the Texas Ledge knows more about it than she does?

Surely.

Steve T
Steve T

So much emotion on this! The Fifth Circuit judges had to deal with the law as written, not the motives/politics behind it.  I happen to agree with a woman's right to choose, but I also understand ScottsMerkin's questions and arguments, as well as the court's decision--information is provided, the woman is still free to choose her course.

Halldecker
Halldecker

Don't know when you went to law school,   you obviously missed that day.  (I just happened to show up.)

Witness the redistricting case now before the Supremes. 

The only Q IS the motives,   politics behind it.

Anon
Anon

is providing "information" that is not true a service to anyone? a doctor seems best equipped to inform a patient of potential side effects to the procedure he/she is performing. you know, based on the best and most recent research, not political propaganda. 

scottindallas
scottindallas

In all the questions about how will this be enforced, I think you're likely missing the biggest point--I'll bet dollars to donuts (not such a bold claim anymore) that there is no enforcement behind the bill, that it's just a naked decree.  What are the enforcement mechanisms?  Is this just a bill of political pandering?

RTGolden
RTGolden

If anyone ever needed evidence that the Republican party, and those Tea Partiers they've subverted, are lying through their teeth when they talk of 'smaller government' and 'personal liberty', here you go.Someone who stands firmly on ideals of a smaller, less invasive government would never support this law.  I, myself, am adamantly against abortion.  I feel it is often a too easy escape from personal responsibility.  However, that is a personal stance.  My political stance is one of personal liberty and smaller government.  The difference between myself and most conservatives, is I know the difference between personal and political.This law is the most invasive, obscene, socially worthless intrusion of government into private life I can imagine.  This is not merely government trying to tell a woman she can or cannot have an abortion.  This is an attempt, by legislative and judicial fiat, to extend the legal jurisdiction of government into our thoughts, values, dreams and morals.  To what other social issues could this be applied, that would affect the other side of the fence?  How about we have properly vetted and credentialed members of the Socialist Party stand outside First Baptist every Sunday.  They could read state-mandated literature about evolution and quantum physics to every church-goer.  Each congregant could be subjected to video documentary of historical atrocities committed by the Church (In general, not FBD in particular.), in the name of God.  Then we could have them listen and watch video supplications from sick and starving orphans from countries where religiously dictated right to life has created an environment where parents have no choice but to abandon unwanted, or fiscally untenable, children to the state, because birth control is outlawed.  Wonder if the 5th Court would uphold that law.

realist
realist

Thanks for the well-balanced argument based on facts and logic.

Towski
Towski

By the same token, shouldn't a pregnant woman who is not planning on having an abortion have to look at statistics of what raising a child to 18 will cost, maybe be forced to look at some charts on the child's probability of incarceration based on her income bracket, etc? I mean, if we're really about wanting women to make a well-informed decision and all. Wink.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

I most certainly will voice my opinion, you cant tell me other wise, that is what is great about this country we live in.  And having personally experienced a decision of this nature I have even more deeply felt opinions on the subject so deal with it

guest
guest

After reading all of your posts, it sounds like you need some counseling to deal with your  decision in the past.But that does not give you the right to interfere with a woman making this decision for herself by forcing delay, inconvenience, additional cost, increased anxiety with a medically unnecessary procedure. It  will also cost taxpayer money and interfere with a doctor patient relationship and confidentiality .If you or others like you need to have that procedure to make this decision go for it, but the rest of us should not be forced to based on your guilt.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Another attack. Oh well....trust me, i as well as my girlfriendat the time have made peace with the decison we made 16 yrs ago long in the past. If you have read all my posts you would see that i dont believe it should be state mandated, reading comprehension here sucks today

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Ok if you say so, but telling someone you know throug 10 comments on a blog they need counsiling is pretty close then. Anyhow im about to indulge in some stella artois so enjoy your evening as well

guest
guest

That wasn't an attack. 

Lolotehe
Lolotehe

Hurray for smaller government!

cockadoodledoooo
cockadoodledoooo

I only have one question....how many men have had their very life(meaning they could die,not how'll they'll provide for it) hang in the balance over a pregnancy. When a man's life can be taken due to pregnancy then a man can have a fair discussion about it.

Anycockwilldo
Anycockwilldo

you are batshit crazy, if you are worried about your life being taken because of a pregnancy maybe you shouldn't have let that man up inbetween your legs huh?

guest
guest

Do you really not understand all of the risks of pregnancy? 

cockadoodledoooo
cockadoodledoooo

Why not have that "man" place his garden hose back in his trousers, before he soaks "vagina's" garden??? 

cp
cp

"trousers"? What century are you in??

cockadoodledoooo
cockadoodledoooo

What you, WTeffin, for??? Ain't you know...i'm batshit craaazzzy, fool!

JS
JS

WTF?

realist
realist

Dude. It takes two to tango. Put on your freakin' condom!!!FREE condoms for all. That's what Rick Perry should run on. ha!

realist
realist

This is so f'd it isn't funny. How about a poor girl who gets raped by her uncle or something? This just adds insult to injury. And how about providing ALL information BEFORE one gets pregnant, i.e. SEX ed in schools?? Not just abstinence. Duh. You don't do it, you don't get pregnant. That's why I'm a pro condom Catholic. For all those conception folks out there, no conception, no pregnancy. End of story.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Funny how in the 70's you'd condom machines in all kinds of bathrooms, now, in a day where people actually use them, they seem less frequent. 

Perhaps my perception is skewed, as seeing them as little boy (in the 70s) really was scandalous to my virgin eyes.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

the rape victim and the medically necessary shouldnt even need to be in this discussion but of course or politicos make it so.

realist
realist

And why exactly not? Just conveniently forget them as this "law" does? If one of these girls/women want an abortion, they will HAVE to do as described so I have no idea why you would exclude this conversation?Since government is interfering, why not put chastity belts on both sexes?Yes. It takes two to tango but seems like men are the ones perpetrating most of the "action."

guest
guest

But they are included in the bill right?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Im saying in my view, they shouldnt even be included in the bill.  Calm down buddy

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

I must have one of those T Shirts........Please ...someone let me know how, when and where..

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

That tee is genius.  I'm seriously debating getting one for the wife.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Jack, just click on the Zazzle link under the photo.

Halldecker
Halldecker

By the time a woman gets into see a physician who'll perform the abortion,  she's agonized and cried over it for ... weeks,  at a minimum.

Making her endure another round of torture,   shame and trauma is evil.

Of course,  having to wait 24 hours means a woman who has driven from West Overshoe,  Texas,  to one of the handful of providers in Texas will have to find a place to sleep overnight,  additional expense ... the decision to 'get it over with'  will keep her up all night,  almost certainly in the most emotional state she'll ever endure.

This is cruel.  

I wonder who is going to audit the physicians to make sure they're performing the medical discussion as the Legislature ordained.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Come on, she can always "work" for a room.  She's waiting to get an abortion--It's NOT like she can get preggers.  Hell, a trip to the city might put a little cash in her pocket! You know, with Backpages and all.

guest
guest

"I wonder who is going to audit the physicians to make sure they're performing the medical discussion as the Legislature ordained."Another layer of government that specializes in enforcement.

Dougsterfresh
Dougsterfresh

You mentioned "shame". Honestly, sometimes shame is your conscience telling you the difference between right and wrong and is an appropriate response to a decision you should make differently. I'm not talking about the kind put upon you by others, but rather an inward response. This applies to lots of areas of life, an also can help motivate right decisions.

cp
cp

No, shame is the general public judging you. Get it right. 

Dougsterfresh
Dougsterfresh

This is great news! Is it really that much of an inconvenience for someone who's dead set on getting an abortion, no. However, for someone who is being pressured into it, or feels on the fence, the sonogram might have a very meaningful impact. I don't think that the growing baby and a shot at life is more trivial than the emotional imposition on the mother. 

Halldecker
Halldecker

Am reminded of the chant pro-choice uses when counter-picketing.

2-4-8-10.  Why are all your leaders MEN!!!!

JS
JS

Except that most definitely is not true.  But why let actual facts get in the way!

guest
guest

What is not true?

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