AUSTIN, Texas (EWTN News)—A federal appeals court has upheld a Texas law requiring a sonogram for women considering abortion.
The ruling is “a victory for all who stand in defense of life,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said on Jan. 10.
“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,” he said.
Under the law, doctors must conduct a sonogram on a woman seeking an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure. The doctor must provide the woman with the opportunity to see the results and to hear the fetal heartbeat. The physician must also describe what the sonogram shows.
On Jan. 10, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s injunction that had prevented the law from taking effect.
Chief Judge Edith Jones ruled that informed-consent laws that do not impose an “undue burden” on a woman’s legal right to have an abortion are permissible if they require “truthful, non-misleading and relevant disclosures.”
“The state’s interest in respect for life is advanced by the dialogue that better informs the political and legal systems, the medical profession, expectant mothers and society as a whole of the consequences that follow from a decision to elect a late-term abortion,” the ruling said.
The judges said it seems “unexceptionable” to conclude that some women regret “their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained” and that “severe depression and loss of esteem can follow.”
A physician who violates the law could be fined $10,000 and automatically lose his or her medical license. The sonogram requirement exempts cases of rape, incest and fetal abnormality.
Supporters of legal abortion objected to the law.
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, said the court ruling was “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 said.
The center had sought to prevent the ruling from taking effect.
Sen. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican who supported the bill, praised the ruling and said he is “extremely gratified” it will take effect.
Patrick told The Wall Street Journal that the law protects a woman’s “right to know” so that she can have “all the information she deserves before making a decision to end a life.”