A federal court judge has declared key portions of Rick Perry’s Texas anti-abortion law unconstitutional. The law, which would have gone into effect Thursday, would have required the doctor to describe the fetus to the patient and the patient to view a sonogram and listen to a fetal heartbeat. Judge Sam Sparks said these requirements were illegal. From Sparks, via the Guardian:
“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,” the judge said. “[It] violates the first amendment [of the US constitution, guaranteeing free speech] by compelling physicians and patients to engage in government-mandated speech and expression.”
Judge Sparks also struck down provisions forcing doctors to comply under threat of losing their license, and a provision exempting women who were victims of rape or incest but only if they put their status in writing:
“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 said.
The Center for Reproductive Rights called the case “a huge victory.” We’d like to thank Sam Sparks for sticking up for women’s rights to privacy and against governmental wands in our vaginas.