Rick Perry loses a round:
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked key provisions of Texas’ new law requiring a doctor to perform a sonogram before an abortion, ruling the measure violates the free speech rights of both doctors and patients.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks upheld the requirement that sonograms be performed, but struck down the provisions requiring doctors to describe the images to their patients and requiring women to hear the descriptions.
The law made exceptions for women who were willing to sign statements saying they were pregnant as a result of rape or incest or that their fetus had an irreversible abnormality. Sparks questioned whether the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature was trying to “permanently brand” women who are victims of sexual assault. Sparks wrote that forcing doctors to discuss the results with a patient who may not want to listen “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 was particularly troubled by the requirement that victims of sexual assault or incest sign statements attesting to that fact to get around the provision. That would require women to disclose “extremely personal, medically irrelevant facts” that will be “memorialized in records that are, at best, semi-private,” Sparks wrote.
“(It) is difficult to avoid the troubling conclusion the Texas Legislature either wants to permanently brand women who choose to get abortions, or views these certifications as potential evidence to be used against physicians and women,” Sparks wrote.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican who is running for president, was critical of Tuesday’s ruling. Perry had made the law one of his top priorities for the 2011 legislative session.
GOP front-runner Rick Perry pushed a law that directs a physician to read a script to a woman, and the woman to “hear” the words (whatever that means).
As a reminder, here’s a leading conservative intellectual lecturing us all that laws like this are nothing to worry about, and are simply an attempt to “stroke the egos” of Texas preachers.
Finally, journalists should remember that Republican politicians have usually been far more adept at mobilizing their religious constituents than those constituents have been at claiming any sort of political “dominion.” George W. Bush rallied evangelical voters in 2004 with his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, and then dropped the gay marriage issue almost completely in his second term. Perry knows how to stroke the egos of Texas preachers, but he was listening to pharmaceutical lobbyists, not religious conservatives, when he signed an executive order mandating S.T.D. vaccinations for Texas teenagers.
Pure politically motivated nonsense, of course. It’s a state law, Rick Perry made it a top priority, and women and physicians in Texas will have to abide by the law, despite the dishonest representations of conservative theorists who repeatedly assure us the religious Right has no real clout in the GOP.
Despite denials by conservatives who are hoping to assuage the fears of moderate voters by lying to them, elections have real-world consequences and laws like this are one of them.
h/t to commenter soonergrunt