Louisiana Court Backs Law Allowing Women to See Ultrasound Before Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
August 23, 2010
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — Backers of the Louisiana law allowing women to see an ultrasound of their unborn children have beaten a lawsuit filed by abortion advocates who don’t want women given a chance to see an image of their baby before the abortion. A temporary restraining order issued against the law was dissolved.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Ralph Tyson of the Middle District of Louisiana reversed the order entered against the Louisiana “Ultrasound Before Abortion Act” at the request of the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed suit against it.
Benjamin Clapper, the director of Louisiana Right to Life, responded to the decision in a statement to LifeNews.com.
"As we expected, the baseless lawsuit promoted by the Louisiana abortion industry to temporarily stall our ‘Ultrasound Before Abortion Act’ has been cleared up," he said. "This life-saving piece of legislation will now go into effect in abortion facilities across Louisiana."
"For the first time in Louisiana’s history, abortionists will be required to offer women seeking abortion the opportunity to see the ultrasound image, hear a description of the image, and receive a print-out of the ultrasound. We look forward to seeing the positive results of this legislation in our state," Clapper said.
The Bioethics Defense Fund, a pro-life legal group that drafted the legislation and provided legal consultation in the court proceedings, also applauded the court’s ruling allowing the ultrasound law to into effect immediately.
"We congratulate the Louisiana Attorney General’s office for successfully obtaining a judgment that clears the way for informed decisions," pro-life attorney Dorinda Bordlee told LifeNews.com.
"Science tells us when life begins, but the real question is when love begins. Legislative testimony confirmed that for many abortion-minded women, love began when they had the opportunity to see their unborn child on an ultrasound screen," she said.
Bordlee said similar ultrasound laws have been enacted in approximately fifteen states.
In the decision last week, the abortion centers that filed suit with the help of the New York law firm had its claims for declaratory and injunctive relief dismissed with prejudice. The federal court judge ordered that the abortion centers were not entitled to attorney fees.
The court’s order was based on a Joint Stipulation filed by all parties specifying that Louisiana’s newly enacted ultrasound law requires, among other things, the person performing the mandatory pre-abortion ultrasound must read a script offering the woman the option to receive an ultrasound print, and that the law does not require the provider to compel the woman to accept the photo.
The law also requires Louisiana abortion centers to provide the woman with a list of facilities that provide ultrasound services free of charge at least 24 hours before a scheduled abortion. The Joint Stipulation provided that this provision will be enforced only after the abortion businesses receive the list, which the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is preparing.
Clapper thanked Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and his staff for defending the legislation.
The Ultrasound Before Abortion Act, SB 528, authored by Senator Sharon Weston Broome (D-Baton Rouge), would require ultrasounds to be performed before all abortions in Louisiana.
Women would be given an opportunity to see it or sign a document saying they decided not to do so. They’re normally not given a chance to see ultrasounds of their baby and pro-life advocates hope the ultrasound will persuade some women to choose abortion alternatives.
The lawsuit argues that the medical malpractice provision treats abortion practitioners differently than legitimate medical professionals and deprives them of the benefits afforded to healthcare providers who receive that coverage.
The pro-abortion group argues the ultrasound law, which allows women to see their baby, "will be detrimental to the patients’ emotional well-being and their relationship with their healthcare provider."
The plaintiffs in the case are a group of Louisiana abortion practitioners located in Shreveport, Bossier City, Baton Rouge, Metairie, and New Orleans.
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