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Abortion-Rights Group Files Lawsuit Over Sonogram Bill

Photo by Daniel Lobo, Texas Tribune

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a national abortion-rights advocacy group, has filed suit over Texas' newly-signed abortion sonogram law, alleging it violates the First Amendment rights of the doctor and the patient. 

Under a measure lawmakers passed this session, and Gov. Rick Perry quickly signed, doctors performing abortions would have to conduct a sonogram at least 24 hours prior to the procedure, and describe the fetus in detail to the woman. The measure, which provides a shortened, two-hour waiting period for women who live more than 100 miles from an abortion provider, is slated to go into effect in September.  

The suit, Texas Medical Providers Performing Abortion Services. v. Department of State Health Services Commissioner David Lakey, alleges that the sonogram requirement violates the constitutional rights of both the doctor and the patient by "forcing physicians to deliver politically-motivated communications to women regardless of the woman's wishes." The Center for Reproductive Rights also charges that the law discriminates against women by "subjecting them to paternalistic 'protections' not imposed on men." 

The challenge was filed in U.S. District Court in Austin.

Emily Ramshaw investigates state agencies and covers social services for KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune. Previously, she spent six years reporting for The Dallas Morning News, first in Dallas, then in Austin. In April 2009 she was named Star Reporter of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the Headliners Foundation of Texas. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she received a bachelor's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
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