Texas can begin immediately enforcing a new state law that requires doctors to perform a sonogram before an abortion and show the image to the patient, a federal appeals court has announced.
A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals followed up on its decision this week to lift a temporary injunction imposed by a lower-court judge, who ruled the law violated the First Amendment rights of doctors and patients.
The appellate judges today truncated the usual three-week period between a ruling and when it is implemented, which Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott had sought, the Associated Press says. The Texas Department of State Health Services will be responsible for enforcing the law.
The new law mandates that at least 24 hours before performing an abortion, doctors show the woman the sonogram image, play the fetal heartbeat aloud and describe the fetus’ features. Exceptions include pregnancies involving rape, incest and fetal deformities, or for women who have to travel great distances to reach a doctor. tucsoncitizen
“The sooner we start providing sonograms to those considering abortions, the more lives we can save," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. "The Fifth Circuit’s decision requires abortion providers to immediately comply with the sonogram law, appropriately allowing Texas to enforce the will of our state, which values and protects the sanctity of life.”
But Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Austin-based Whole Woman's Health, an independent family planning clinic and abortion provider, said making women "listen to the heartbeat and hear a description of the fetus is not going to change her mind about abortion." Texastribune