RALEIGH, NC, January 20, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Obama-appointed judge struck down a portion of the state’s ultrasound law Friday that required the abortionist to describe to the woman what was displayed on the ultrasound.
U. S. District Judge Catherine Eagles, who had put the law on hold a few months after the state’s Republic-dominated legislature passed it in 2011, finally struck it down last week. She ruled that states cannot pass laws that force health care providers to give an “ideological message in favor of carrying a pregnancy to term.”
A law requiring an ultrasound before an abortion was also struck down in Oklahoma last year. Over twenty states in the U.S. currently require an abortionist to make an ultrasound available to women. Three of those states – Louisiana, Texas, and Wisconsin – require the abortionist to conduct one, show it to the woman, and describe it. Another seven require the abortionist to conduct the ultrasound and give the woman an opportunity to view it.
State Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake., defended the law in an interview with the Associated Press. “There is nothing in the law requiring the doctor to say anything that is not truthful or that is misleading,” he said.
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The day after Eagles’ decision, the state held its annual pro-life rallies and religious celebrations, including a rally and march organized by North Carolina Right to Life.
Raleigh’s bishop, Most Rev. Michael F. Burbidge, issued a statement saying he was “deeply saddened” by the ruling.
“This ruling does a great disservice to the women of our State, as it denies those who are pregnant from receiving full access to all available medical information,” he said. “Women are entitled to and deserve our respect, compassion and support. And so to deny a woman from receiving the truth, especially with regard to a decision which will impact her life and the life of her unborn child is to deny her the freedom of information that all people expect from their health care providers.”
In the North Carolina case, the judge interpreted the law as a violation of free-speech rights. The same legal principle was involved in another decision made by federal appeals court judges on January 17th upholding a lower court’s decision to strike down a New York City regulation targeting crisis pregnancy centers. The regulation required centers to post notices and verbally advise potential clients that they are not full service pregnancy care facilities because they do not offer abortions.