A federal court yesterday ratified an agreement to block two provisions of a new Louisiana state ultrasound law. The Center for Reproductive Rights and six Louisiana abortion clinics filed a lawsuit challenging the law earlier this month. The agreement is between the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and the Louisiana state Department of Health and Hospitals.
The first blocked provision required all women who are seeking an abortion to view a photograph of an ultrasound image prior to the procedure, without exceptions for women who are victims of rape or incest. The CRR had argued that the ultrasound requirement was "unconstitutionally vague" because it did not define whether a doctor must require the patient to view the ultrasound or to accept printed copies, according to the Independent Weekly. In the agreement, the Department of Health and Hospitals said that the woman does not have to see the photograph, but that the new law requires the photograph be offered to the woman, according to theAssociated Press.
The second blocked provision required doctors to provide patients with a list of locations where they can get free ultrasounds. The agreement declares this part of the law "unenforceable" because the state has not yet compiled or distributed this list to the clinics.
Part of the lawsuit is ongoing. The lawsuit challenges the provision that bans medical malpractice insurance coverage for doctors who provide elective abortions. The CRR argues that this provision denies abortion providers equal legal protection.
Stephanie Toti, staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a press release that "we are very pleased with the agreement we reached with the state...Doctors need to be able to make decisions that are in the best interest of their patients, not in the best interest of politicians."
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 8/13/10; Independent Weekly 8/13/10; Associated Press 8/19/10; Center for Reproductive Rights Press Release 8/19/10
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