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First Amendment

Federal Judge in Texas Says Requiring Sonograms Before Abortions to Go Forward

Posted Feb 6, 2012 5:59 PM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward

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A Texas federal judge ruled today that he would not block a state law requiring women to have a sonogram before having an abortion, following a directive by the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the statute is constitutional.

Previously U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks had ruled that parts of the law, which also requires doctors to play fetal heartbeats out loud and describe the fetuses' features at least 24 hours before an abortion, violated doctors and patients’ First Amendment rights. The law has exceptions for cases of rape, incest and fetal deformities, the Associated Press reports. There is also an exception for women who travel long distances to see a doctor.

In January, the 5th Circuit found that sonograms, fetal heartbeats and fetuses' medical descriptions are important information, and overturned Sparks’ prior ruling.

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