AUSTIN, Texas — Texas' law requiring women seeking abortions to undergo a sonogram and be presented the image and a fetal heartbeat doesn't violate constitutional protections and can take effect, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, lifted a ban on the law that had been imposed in August by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks.
"Today's ruling is a victory for all who stand in defense of life," said Gov. Rick Perry, who signed it into law last spring.
The law had been challenged by doctors, who argued that it overrode their medical opinions, interfered with their patient relationships and made them "a mouthpiece" of the state by requiring certain tests and instructing how those tests should be presented to their patients. If doctors do not follow the law, they can lose their medical license.
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a nonprofit group that challenged the law, said judges have struck down similar laws in other states, and the 5th Circuit panel is the only one to uphold such an invasive law.
The court panel found that the sonogram law mandates that physicians impart information, not state ideology, and that compelling doctors to make factual statements to a patient is permitted under informed consent laws.