Courts

Center For Reproductive Rights Wants All Fifth Circuit Judges To Hear Sonogram Law Case

The saga of Texas's brand-new, Rick-Perry approved sonogram law continues. First, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a preliminary injunction issued by Judge Sam Sparks and allowed the law to go into effect. (That law, just to refresh, requires women seeking an abortion to look at a sonogram, hear a description of the image and listen to a fetal heartbeat, whether or not she wants to hear or see any of those things or whether her doctor thinks it's necessary or prudent.) Then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was so excited about the whole thing he wanted the law to go into effect like immediately, a request the court granted in just one day.

But the CRR is not going quietly. Last night, they filed a petition asking for the Fifth Circuit to hear the case en banc, meaning they want them to haul out all 17 active judges and ask them to rehear the thing. The original ruling was decided by a three-judge panel.

In a statement the CRR sent over today, president and CEO Nancy Northrup says:

"We disagree with the Fifth Circuit panel's conclusion that physicians who provide abortions have fewer First Amendment protections than other citizens simply because they perform a service that some politicians don't like. We're asking the full court to rectify this unjustified curtailment of free speech rights and keep government out of conversations between Texas women and their doctors."
To make things even more confusing, the CRR was back in Judge Sam Sparks's court January 20, asking for a permanent injunction against the law. The judge hasn't yet issued a ruling.

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Anna Merlan
Contact: Anna Merlan