A Texas law that mandates women seeking an abortion receive a pre-abortion sonogram that is intended to pressure women to continue with her pregnancy was ruled constitutional by a federal appeals court, reversing an earlier order that enjoined the law from being enforced. In August, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks held the law violated the First Amendment by improperly requiring doctors and patients to engage in government-mandated speech.
But the Fifth Circuit disagreed, holding the law fell within the power of the state to regulate abortion, sparking controversy almost the minute it was delivered.
Chief Justice Edith Jones wrote the opinion and may be best known for a ruling that upheld a Texas high school that kicked a cheerleader off her squad after she refused to chant the name of a basketball player that raped her.
The Texas law has become known as the “rape by the state” law and with good reason. The procedure passed, and now upheld as constitutional, will in most cases require a transvaginal probe in order to comply. That is because about 88 percent of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. Because the fetus is so small at this stage a traditional ultrasound performed on the wall of the abdomen with jelly cannot produce a clear image.
That means the Texas law mandates that a woman will be vaginally penetrated without an opportunity to refuse, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals thinks this is constitutional.
Photo from silviadinatale via flickr