Today the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said it will not rehear the Texas sonogram law, meaning it stands and no woman in the state of Texas will be able to get an abortion until she has a sonogram and 24 hour waiting period. On January 25, the Center for Reproductive Justice issued this press release asking for an en banc, or full court rehearing on the Texas sonogram law, which had already been ruled as constitutional. Today the court said no.
As a mater of fact, every single judge said no. The order says:
“Treating the Petition for Rehearing En Bane as a Petition for Panel Rehearing, the Petition for Panel Rehearing is DENIED. No member of the panel nor judge in regular active service of the court having requested that the court be polled on Rehearing En Bane (FED. R. ApP. P. and 5TH CrR. R. 35), the Petition for Rehearing En Bane is DENIED.”
In other words, not even one of the judges asked for a poll on rehearing; the petition for rehearing was denied without comment. It wasn’t even worth looking at, apparently. This case is closed, unless it gets reopened at the Supreme Court, which would be great.
The Center for Reproductive Justice was the entity that originally sued after Gov. Rick Perry pushed this legislation through, declaring it a priority. It passed through the house and senate and Perry signed it into law. The law was halted while it was under appeal. No sooner had it been ruled constitutional but the appeals court when the Center for Reproductive Justice announced, in essence, it didn’t like the ruling, so it asked for an en banc, or full court (rather than panel of three judges) hearing:
“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.” – Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Today that battle came to a screeching halt. The only recourse that could overturn the Texas sonogram law now is a Supreme Court ruling, and with the medical knowledge and technology we have now, the likelihood of this ever being overturned is small. The likelihood the high court would even hear it is slim in itself since no rights are being violated by offering a woman informed consent.
We commend Governor Perry for having the fortitude to push through such an important law, as well as the Texas House and Senate who passed it. Informed consent is one of the key practices in medical ethics. Now a woman has to have a sonogram, have it explained, and wait 24 hours before having a life-alerting (and life-killing) medical procedure. There’s no reason to rush through any major medical decision, and all Texas has done is make a law that follows practical procedure and common sense.
Those who oppose abortions say the law will save lives. Texas has about 80,000 abortions a year, and Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, estimated that 15,000 lives could be saved if the sonogram law stops one out of every five abortions.
We praise God for the lives saved by one law. This, my friends, is a reminder of why electing pro-life leaders at every level is so important. While laws like this don’t end abortion, they save lives while we persist in our fight for the right to LIFE for all unborn children.
LifeNews Note: Susan Michelle is the editor of Bound4Life’s blog.