Appeals court says Texas can enforce abortion law

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Judge Jones wrote that the argument against requiring the doctor to perform the sonogram only made sense if a “pregnancy is a condition to be terminated.”

“The point of informed consent laws is to allow the patient to evaluate her condition and render her best decision under difficult circumstances,” Judge Jones wrote. “Denying her up-to-date medical information is more of an abuse to her ability to decide than providing the information.”

Under the Texas law, a woman who has suffered rape or incest can avoid the sonogram requirement by certifying that she is a victim. Judge Jones said that the “the district court was especially troubled by the requirement” to make the certification but that it doesn’t violate the woman’s First Amendment rights.

In his temporary order, Judge Sparks also agreed with the doctors appealing the law that the doctor should not be compelled to show the woman the sonogram image, to play the sound of the fetal heartbeat and to explain the sonogram image verbally if the women does not want to look or listen.

Judge Jones found that there was no constitutional argument against these elements of the law.

“The woman seeking an abortion may elect not to receive these images, sounds, or explanations,” Judge Jones wrote. “This election does not obviate the physician’s obligations to display the sonogram images or make audible the heart auscultation; the woman may simply choose not to look or listen.”

Judge Jones wrote that the doctors had failed to make a convincing argument against the law, and she made clear that she expects Judge Sparks to use her ruling when making any further decisions in the case. Judge Jones also said the 5th Circuit would hear any further appeals in this case.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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