U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks issued a preliminary injunction after finding that portions of the sonogram law, set to take effect Sept. 1, were unconstitutionally vague and violated the First Amendment by improperly requiring doctors and patients to engage in government-mandated speech.
“The act compels physicians to advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen,” Sparks wrote.
Attorney General Greg Abbott immediately filed notice that he intends to appeal the ruling.
The ruling is here, and I recommend you take the time to read it; skip over the part about class action certification, which as Burka says is tedious, and just got to the good stuff that follows. Judge Sparks denied most of the plaintiff’s claims about vagueness of the law, but the real meat is in the First Amendment discussion at the end. And of course, this being Judge Sparks, there’s a bit of quality snark in there, as he observes in a footnote: “It is ironic that many of the same people who zealously defend the state’s righteous duty to become intimately involved in a woman’s decision to get an abortion are also positively scandalized at the government’s gross overreaching in the area of health care.” Not to mention the freakout over potential junk-touching by TSA. I for one will not be surprised to see this one on SCOTUS’ docket some day. Trail Blazers and Hair Balls have more, and a statement from the Center for Reproductive Rights, which helped represent the plaintiffs in this case, is here.
UPDATE: The Observer reminds us that while this ruling is good news, there’s a whole lot of bad about to come down on women and women’s health services, especially Planned Parenthood.