The Texas Sonogram abortion case returned to Judge Sam Sparks in the U.S. District Court last week after his finding that the Texas law requiring physicians performing abortions to show pre-abortion patients copies of sonogram images and to listen to fetal heartbeats 24 hours before performing the procedure was unconstitutional. The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned Judge Sparks in January. The case, Texas Physicians Providing Abortion Services v. David Lackey, M.D., built upon the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey,which upheld the right to abortion, but affirmed the state’s “informed consent” requirement that certain information be provided to the woman first.
The Texas law, H.B. 15, entitled the “Woman’s Right To Know Act,” might more appropriately be named the Texas Politician’s right to have her know act.” The law was prominently pushed by Texas Governor Rick Perry. Physicians found to violate the statute can loose their licenses, be convicted of misdemeanors and sanctioned with a $10,000. fine. The Court of appeals found that the requirement was a paradigm of the “giving truthful, non-misleading information” approved of by the Supreme Court in Casey. Yet, forcing a woman to undergo the sonagram and monitoring procedures smacks at much more than providing information. It is obviously designed to promote guilt and second thoughts through the very intrusive invasion of a woman’s medical care and privacy. It is a form of polemical social engineering.
Governor Rick Perry said, “Today’s ruling is a victory for all who stand in defense of life.”
If this form of intrusion is constitutional we may perhaps adapt to resolving a number of the more pressing issues in Texas, such as obesity, illiteracy, ignorance, and state mandated executions. Shouldn’t Texas juries be forced to watch executions before being impanelled to issue death sentences?
In a recent article this month in the Washington Post, Gene Weingarten, had a wonderful column in which he suggested “compelled speech” remedies for a variety of Texas ills. Here is just one of them.
Problem: Electing idiot politicians, particularly squinty-eyed, know-nothing governors who wear their ignorance like a sheriff's badge.
Solution: Equip all voting booths with a TV screen endlessly replaying the early Republican presidential debates.