Judge Blocks Texas Forced Sonogram Bill, Texas Women See Glimmer of Hope

NOTE: This is an update to fabulous Feminists For Choice blogger Maureen’s post. You can read it here.

I’m sure you read the horrific news coming out of Texas over the last few months. Our governor (and GOP presidential candidate) Rick Perry signed a bill requiring women seeking abortions to view a sonogram of their fetus. And that’s not even the bad part – these women would be forced to watch the sonogram with their physician describing the images to them and listen to an audio of the fetus’ heartbeat.

Yeah. Pretty terrible stuff, right? Luckily for Texas women (and children) though, the Texas Independent has reported that U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks has blocked the bill and struck down 2 of its more egregious provisions. In response to a petition from the Center for Reproductive Rights petition, Judge Sparks found that provisions of the bill violated the free speech rights of both patient and physician. 

Most troubling to Sparks, Texas Independent reports, is the requirement for women who have been raped to sign a document stating so. Mentioned in the ruling were the underlying ideological motivations for forcing physicians to perform these sonograms and having patients sign this document. “It is difficult to avoid the troubling conclusion,” Sparks writes, “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.”

My favorite part of the opinion, though, is this neat little zinger: “It is ironic that many of the same people who zealously defend the state’s righteous duty to become intimately involved in a woman’s decision to get an abortion are also positively scandalized at the government’s gross overreaching in the area of health care.”

Y’ALL. Best news of the last 9 months? Reproductive rights have taken a battering this year and it’s extremely refreshing to see some light at the end of this tunnel. But let’s not ignore the fact that the man who is currently sitting at the top of the Republican primary field (motley crew of ignorance that it is) declared this bill “emergency legislation” and made it the business of a legislative special session. Rick Perry is going to swagger his ignorant ass to the nomination, and possibly to the White House. Goddess help us.

About Amy:
Amy is a social media strategist living in Dallas, Texas. She likes music, trashy TV, and ladybiz. tweet: @aemccarthy


  1. The image and the heartbeat of the fetus is considered ” pretty terrible stuff”?
    And “Goddess”? Gag.

    • Lola, ultrasounds are regularly performed during abortions so that the clinician can tell how far along the woman is in her pregnancy. Adding a sonogram to the procedure is a) unnecessary, b) more expensive, and c) just plain ignorant because women who are in the clinic have already made their decision to get an abortion.

      As far as the Goddess is concerned, you can have your religious beliefs – let the rest of us have ours.

  2. If someone coerced me into having a wand shoved into my vagina and moved around for several minutes before I could have a medical procedure, you’re damn right I’d sign a paper afterwards saying I was raped.

    …oh wait, that’s not what they meant?

    I’m sort of bemused that you say the “bad part” is being made to look at the sonogram and listen for a heartbeat. No, the “bad part” is the legislative mandate of sexual violation.

  3. Requiring a sonogram is not the issue and has never been the issue. I’m not aware of any physician that performs an abortion without doing a sonogram first. But let’s not forget the other provision’s of Perry’s sonogram bill. Forcing a woman to disclose is she is pregnant via rape or incest has absolutely nothing to do with ensuring the woman has all the information she needs to make a decision on abortion. The same goes for waiting 24 hours after the sonogram – how does waiting ensure she has all the information – she had that information 24 hours ago. This is about creating hardship for women getting abortions. More importantly I saw no waiver of the 24 hour waiting period if the woman’s life was in danger – are you kidding? Governor Perry believes it is OK to tell a woman who may be dying that the doctor cannot perform a lifesaving procedure for another 24 hours because she needs to think about dying. Keep in mind Governor Perry turned down banning texting while driving because he didn’t want to interfere in our decision making – but he’s perfectly OK sticking his nose into a woman’s private business with her physician.

  4. I think the “bad part” that I was referring to was the force. At this point, you can turn your eyes away while the doctor performs the sonogram. Performing the sonogram isn’t the issue.

    The idea of having a physician describe to you that your fetus has x, y, or z as a requirement, as well as an audio of the heartbeat is just as dehumanizing as the rest of it – did they think that women were unaware that their fetus had x, y, or z?

  5. I’ve been stuck in TX most of 7 years. An ex boyfriend I dumped over 22 years ago has been allowed to slander me & mentally abuse, neglect & exploit my kid & I both. Before us he was allowed to do these things to his own elderly mom & insane sister…causing his sister’s untimely death. TX will not order him into therapy & classes. TX will not help us get away from him. Every agency & org we call has some excuse. A hospital social worker said TX is the 2nd worst state in the US when it comes to getting help. So TX has no business telling women what to do.

  6. Today would have been former Governor Ann Richards’ 78th birthday. I like to think of what she might have to say about Rick Perry. Oy!

    Some of the toughest most progressive women I know come from Texas. How do they end up with Shrub and Rick Perry as their governors???

Speak Your Mind