Texas Sonogram Bill Remains In Limbo


A controversial Texas sonogram bill remains in limbo as the U.S. Supreme Court declined to overrule a federal judge’s preliminary injunction that prevents Texas from enforcing the measure.

The law was scheduled to take effect last Saturday.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks blocked enforcement of significant portions of HB 12 late August pending resolution of the constitutional challenges to the bill. Sparks held the law violates the First Amendment by requiring doctors to show a woman seeking an abortion the sonogram images, describe those images to her or play the sound of the fetal heart against her wishes.

Sparks also indicated concerns with other portions of the bill that would charge doctors with a misdemeanor crime, fine them $10,000 and lose their medical licenses if the doctors do not abide by the law.

The sonogram bill was a top priority for Republican lawmakers and one of Gov. Rick Perry’s “emergency” bills.

Sparks told lawyers he will likely decide the merits of the bill based on written briefs by both parties. Lawyers expect all written briefs to be filed by mid-December.

By refusing to intervene, the Supreme Court guarantees the challenge plays out in the district, then appellate level. Knowing the legal strategies employed by anti-choice advocates, expect to see similar measures snake through the federal courts making eventual intervention by the high court all but certain.


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Photo from infowidget via flickr.


Carole R.
Carole R6 years ago

Get it out of limbo and kill the damn thing!

Heather G.
Heather G6 years ago

But Hilary it's not done for the "emotional well-being of the mother." It's done to make another impediment (time, money) to getting an abortion so she has no choice but to continue the pregnancy. Plus it's an invasive procedure that violates her privacy.

Hilary E.
Hilary E6 years ago

I am pro-choice and I agree with this law. I'm surprised first off that it doesn't exist already simply because getting an abortion is a major medical procedure and I know if I was about to get one I would want my doctor to check things out in there and make sure everything looked normal. I'm sure the procedure changes for a multiple pregnancy, tubal, or other complications. Second, no matter how you feel about the issue there are women who go through some serious grief about their decision, some do regret it. Getting a sonogram to make the pregnancy a reality and not just some abstract concept (I'm currently 6 months pregnant and it finally starting to sink it how real this baby is) would help all women to make more informed and emotionally secure choices. It's really a beneficial thing for the emotional well-being of the mother.

Cheryl Bresney
Cheryl Bresney6 years ago

Out the lies, people....¬The Center for Disease Control reports that 88% of all abortions are decisions made by poor women of color working two jobs to support their two LIVING children, before the fifth week of pregnancy. A larger majority opt for chemically induced terminatio¬ns at two to three weeks. And in case the propaganda mill has convinced you that life begins at conception¬; consider that a woman does not conceive until two weeks AFTER intercours¬e. Therefore the morning after pill could never be considered an abortion pill. Tragic how liars call a zygote with no beating heart or brain cells a baby, how even the words coming from an educated pundit’s mouth doesn’t choke in their craw…

If children’s lives were indeed a Republican priority, the U.S. would not own the horrific record of the highest infant mortality rate in the free world. Without proper prenatal care or the ability to work for a living wage, few children survive the grueling punishment subjected upon their mothers. Punish a woman and you torture living children.

Pro-life is pro-death, pro-suffer¬ing, and pro-torture; the enactment of forced breeding creates more poverty from which no nation can recover. Class warfare does exist; it escalates and cooks the stew of repugnant vitriol until a furious contempt and loathing of the poor spreads its wrath over all humanity.

Nicholas Rudolph
Nicholas Rudolph6 years ago

And we want less government, come on, Rick. We know you are not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but this is ridiculous. Maybe if we were paying teachers instead of requiring sonograms these young people trying to get abortions would be smart enough not to get pregnant to being with, but wait, we also don't want to support the illegitimate kids and poor mothers that can't work because they have so many kids. Am I the only wants the sees the hypocrisy screaming in the scenario?

Marilyn J L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

Let's see ... they're trying to deny one type of medical treatment by requiring another type of medical treatment. Hmmm, i'm not the only one seeing the irony here, am I?

Melanie K.
Mel;anie K6 years ago

This bill should saty in limbo, or die all together.

The party of no interference in people's lives, except in cases of abortion, equal pay, equal rights, wants, as usual, to tell others what to do. I say "NO"!

Maureen W.
Maureen W6 years ago

Matilda, don't blame me! I voted for Bill White!!!

Amanda M.
Amanda M6 years ago

If a woman wants an abortion, then she's already made up her mind to do so by the time she comes to a clinic, especially if she has to jump through a bunch of ridiculous hoops such as a "waiting period" or scraping together the money and traveling a long distance the way so many have to do these days. Forcing her to view or listen to a sonogram against her wishes is simply barbaric. What part of "No means NO" or "respecting the patient's wishes" do these anti-choicers NOT understand? Kill the ultrasound bill already and let women have a say over what happens to their own bodies!

Marianne C.
Marianne C6 years ago

If SCOTUS declined to hear the case, it isn't in limbo, it's over. The injunction stands. Or at least, it stands until the right comes up with some other intrusive, managerial, judgmental means of subverting a woman's Constitutional rights.