Policy of sonograms before abortions to begin immediately



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Posted on January 13, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 14 at 11:19 AM

DALLAS - Starting Friday, women in Texas must be hear and see a sonogram of their fetus 24 hours before having an abortion.

A court ruling cleared the way for immediate enforcement of the state's new abortion law.

Practically speaking, the Texas Department of State Health Services and Planned Parenthood both gave indications to News 8 that it will take some short amount of time to alert abortion providers and put the changes in place.

Earlier in the week, a federal judge ruled in favor of implementation. After that, it appeared as though there would be a three-week period before could be put into force, which is standard.

Today's ruling, by a three-judge panel, called for immediate implementation. Abortion opponents like the Catholic Pro-Life Committee applaud the ruling.

"It allows for a implementation of a law that should have implemented back in fall after the people of Texas had spoken," said CPLC spokeswoman Becky Visosky.

State Health Services said it is in the process of sending notices to abortion providers in Texas. Planned Parenthood said it will take its cues from that directive.

This decision, from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in effect, means the Texas law will be in effect even as doctors, who continue to challenge it, appeal its legality.

Southwestern Women's Surgery Center, one of the largest abortion providers in North Texas, released this statement:

"We are deeply troubled by the court’s decision to enforce this insulting law in its entirety. The law is a slap in the face to women and providers, it forces her to listen to a description of the pregnancy even if she does not want it. This law takes away a woman’s right to say no to a medically unnecessary description, and forces physicians to impose such an experience on a patient, whether she wants it or not. 
Women know what a fetus is, and what it means to be pregnant. She also knows what an abortion is, and what abortion means, and she makes her own decision without the need for government intrusion. This government does not trust a woman’s ability to make her own life, health, and moral decisions. This law imposes the unethical treatment of women in the privacy of a medical facility."

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com