Let's Start the Day with a Little Good News

Reuters—Judge blocks parts of Texas abortion law on sonograms:
A federal judge temporarily blocked key provisions of a Texas abortion law on Tuesday that would require women seeking the procedure to view a sonogram and listen to the heartbeat of their fetus.

The law, which had been due to go into effect on Thursday, was a major part of Republican Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry's agenda in this year's Texas legislative session.

But the judge, in a victory for abortion rights activists, ruled in a preliminary injunction that there was cause to believe such a requirement was an unconstitutional burden on doctors.

"The act compels physicians to advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen," U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said in the ruling.

He also struck down provisions that would have called for canceling a doctor's license or subjecting a physician to criminal penalty for failure to comply

The law, if the state were to later prevail in court, would require that a sonogram viewing take place 24 hours before an abortion, or two hours before the procedure for women who live over 100 miles from the abortion clinic.

In his ruling, the judge blocked the state from penalizing physicians who do not display the sonogram images in front of a pregnant woman, or have her listen to the fetus' heartbeat, if the woman declines that information.

Sparks, an Austin-based federal judge for the Western District of Texas, also took a dim view of a provision that would force women pregnant from rape or incest to certify that in writing if they do not wish to hear a doctor's explanation of the sonogram images.

"The Court need not belabor the obvious by explaining why, for instance, women who are pregnant as a result of sexual assault or incest may not wish to certify that fact in writing, particularly if they are too afraid of retaliation to even report the matter to police," Sparks wrote.
US District Judge Sam Sparks, I think I might love you a little bit.

Naturally, the ruling will be appealed by Governor Rick Perry's administration, because this laws is necessary, according to Perry, so that "women have all information necessary to make an informed decision on an important medical procedure." I've already written about that mendacious argument no fewer than 783 times, so I won't belabor the point again, but just no: Women are not clueless dingalings who make the decision to have an abortion in a void of information; we know what we're doing, and we have all the information we need by the time we schedule an appointment to terminate.

Sonogram laws are just a despicable bit of bullying designed to try to emotionally manipulate women into subverting their own instincts. If Perry and the rest of the American Family Values Children Christian Liberty Freedom Patriot Association Foundation Organization were merely interested in providing women with information, sonograms would be offered as a option, not a mandatory requirement.

They're bullies. And Maude bless Judge Sam Sparks for stopping that bullying in its tracks.

At least for now.

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