The Center for Reproductive Rights has filed a lawsuit challenging Texas’ new law requiring a woman to have a sonogram performed before an abortion. The law also requires doctors to provide “a simultaneous verbal explanation of the results of the live, real-time sonogram images, including a medical description of the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, and the presence of arms, legs, external members, and internal organs.”
The law is being challenged on First Amendment and Equal Protection grounds on behalf of a class of physicians who perform abortions. The physicians claim that the act is unconstitutional because it “profoundly intrudes on the practice of medicine, forces physicians to deliver ideological speech to patients, and treats women as less than fully competent adults.” The complaint described the following ways in which the act intrudes on medical practice:
The Act imposes strict liability, criminal penalties, and a mandatory penalty of the non-renewal of a medical license on any physician who fails to comply with any one of myriad requirements for providing government-mandated information to a patient in advance of an abortion. The Act imposes numerous requirements that are contrary to standard medical practice and/or violate standards of medical ethics. For example, the Act will compel physicians to deliver to their patients government-mandated speech including visual and auditory depictions of the fetus that falls outside the accepted standards and practices for medical informed consent. Moreover, given its harsh penalties and vague requirements, the Act will force physicians to deliver this government-mandated speech even where a patient declines to receive it, or else risk losing his or her license.