A Texas abortion law passed last year that requires doctors to show sonograms to patients can be enforced while opponents challenge the measure in court, a federal appeals court said Tuesday in a ruling that signaled the judges believe the law is constitutional.
When the state will begin enforcing the law was not immediately clear. The group that brought the case, the Center for Reproductive Rights, is weighing how to proceed and has 14 days to ask for a rehearing of the case. If there are no appeals by then, the court would likely allow the state to begin enforcing the law.
The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a temporary order against enforcing the law and went further to advise U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks how he should ultimately rule in the case. Chief Judge Edith H. Jones used her opinion to systematically dismantle the argument that the Texas law infringes on the free speech rights of doctors and patients, the key argument against the law.
"The required disclosures of a sonogram, the fetal heartbeat, and their medical descriptions are the epitome of truthful, non-misleading information," Jones wrote. "The appellees failed to demonstrate constitutional flaws" with the law.