On Tuesday, a three judge panel of the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to uphold a Texas law requiring that doctors describe ultrasounds in detail and play the sound of the fetal heartbeat, if a heartbeat is present, to women seeking abortions. In doing so, the Fifth Circuit overturned Federal District Court Judge Sam Sparks' August preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law.
The case was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Texas medical providers challenging Texas' new abortion ultrasound law, which was scheduled to take effect September 1, in June. The Center for Reproductive Rights claims that the law violates patients' and doctors' First Amendment Rights by requiring "physicians to violate basic standards of medical ethics by compelling them to disregard the wishes of patients who do not want to receive this information."
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, stated, "One of the most extreme mandatory ultrasound laws in the nation has now led to an extreme court decision on this issue. 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. Until today, every court that has reviewed similarly intrusive laws has ruled the laws unconstitutional."
The Center for Reproductive Rights can file for a rehearing within the next 14 days.
Media Resources: Wall Street Journal 1/12/12; New York Times 1/11/12; Statement of the Center for Reproductive Rights 1/10/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/31/11
11/21/2014 Fifth Circuit Court Refuses to Reconsider Ruling Blocking Mississippi TRAP Law - The full US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Thursday refused to reconsider a panel decision blocking enforcement of a Mississippi law that threatened to close the last remaining abortion clinic in the state.
In July, a panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a preliminary injunction against a Mississippi TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals. . . .