Section of N.C. Abortion Law Blocked by Judge

Section of N.C. Abortion Law Blocked by Judge

11/10/2011

 

The most controversial portion of the abortion law of North Carolina was blocked by a federal judge. However, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles said that the other sections of the law could go into effect on Wednesday.

Judge Eagles on Tuesday granted the request for a preliminary injunction, blocking the enactment of the requirement that women should be given a narrated ultrasound image of their womb at least four hours before they undergo the procedure.

All the other provisions of the law were upheld by Judge Eagles while the challenge proceeds through the courts.

The judge ruled that the ultrasound requirement likely would be a violation of the First Amendment. Groups that filed the lawsuit to block the requirement pointed out that it was synonymous to using the bodies of women to promote an ideology mandated by the government.

In her decision, Judge Eagles wrote, “The First Amendment generally includes the right to refuse to engage in speech compelled by the government.” She also stated that the freedom of speech prohibits limits on “both what to say and what not to say.”

Katy Parker, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation and one of the plaintiffs in the case, said that the provision would have placed medical providers on a vague legal footing.

She said, “The state should not be using women’s bodies as political pawns, as this law clearly seeks to do.”

State Representative Paul Stam, a Republican from Apex, North Carolina, who supports the law, expressed his disappointment with the ruling.

He said, “It is unfortunate that the abortion industry, embodied by the plaintiffs in this case, is so opposed to a woman meeting her child before deciding to terminate her pregnancy.”

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com