Lawsuit filed against newly-signed Texas sonogram law

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 13 at 7:52 PM

Poll:
Should a woman seeking an abortion be first required to submit to a sonogram?

The first legal challenge against Texas' controversial new abortion ultrasound law was filed in Austin Monday.

The class-action lawsuit was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of abortion providers.

Its lawyers called the law discriminatory and patronizing to women.

"The heart of the litigation is asking that the law be declared unconstitutional," said Dallas lawyer Susan Hays, who is working for the Center for Reproductive Rights. "It treats women as incompetent, idiotic people who cannot make their own health care decisions. And it also requires doctors to violate their own medical ethics in advising their patients on their healthcare."

After September 1, any woman who wants an abortion would have to watch their sonogram first, listen as a doctor describes the fetus to her, hear the heartbeat and then wait 24 hours before having the procedure.

Pro-life organizations said ultrasounds convinced more than 80 percent of women considering abortion to keep the baby or to consider adoption.

"For people who are out there saying 'This should all be about a woman's choice,' well at least the woman should be armed with enough information to make that decision," said Becky Visosky of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee.

Her organization said the law intends to save the lives of babies who cannot protect themselves. They hope the legal challenge fails.

In the meantime, pro-choice attorneys are asking a U.S. District Court judge to issue a temporary restraining order so abortion businesses would not have to change their procedures while the legal challenge moves forward.

The issue is expected to be challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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