The decisions by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to uphold the Texas sonogram law and deny a request to rehear the appeal have set off a firestorm of complaints from pro-choice forces.
Setting aside the rhetoric, the importance of the sonogram law and the appellate decisions upholding the law can be demonstrated by considering a different opinion from a different court delivered only a few months ago.
In 2011, in Doe v. Planned Parenthood Chicago Area, the 1st District Appellate Court of Illinois rejected a woman’s lawsuit against an abortion clinic. The woman, identified as Mary Doe, previously had an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Justice Rodolfo Garcia, writing the appellate opinion, held:
We accept as true the allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint. On December 8, 2004, the plaintiff, 19 years old and about 12 weeks pregnant, sought counseling and assistance from the defendant Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area (PP), an abortion clinic. The plaintiff asked a PP counselor whether an abortion would terminate the life of a human being in the biological sense. The counselor replied in the negative. The plaintiff told the counselor that she had been informed by a pregnancy help center that an abortion terminates the life of a human being. The counselor replied that pregnancy help centers often deliberately misrepresent the facts to prospective mothers. The counselor assured her that an abortion did not terminate the life of a human being. Given this assurance, the plaintiff decided to have an abortion that same day.
Justice Garcia then reviewed a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling from 2007, Acuna v. Turkish, and concluded:
We echo the observation of the New Jersey Supreme Court. No court, regardless of where it sits, has found a common law duty requiring doctors to tell their pregnant patients that aborting an embryo, or fetus, is the killing of an existing human being.
In sum, despite finding that Planned Parenthood had assured the expectant mother abortion does not terminate the life of a human being, and despite accepting that the expectant mother would not have had the abortion if told otherwise, the Appellate Court of Illinois rejected the lawsuit.
Needless to say, since the courts are unable to find a common law duty requiring doctors and other abortion providers to tell the truth, it clearly is necessary for the state legislatures to pass laws establishing the duty. Otherwise, a woman has not given an informed consent.
And, unfortunately, as demonstrated by the Illinois and New Jersey legal cases, and documented by the Live Action undercover investigations, the “health” providers at Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics have concealed the scientific facts of early human development in order to persuade women to have abortions.
Certainly, a legitimate health provider, when asked something about human embryology, could simply open one of the human embryology textbooks used in medical schools, and read the facts as described by the experts on the subject.
For example, Harvard Medical School uses Langman’s Medical Embryology by T.W. Sadler, and the Yale School of Medicine uses The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology by Drs. Keith L. Moore, T.V.N. Persaud, and Mark G. Torchia.
And every human embryology textbook, and every human embryologist, states that human life begins at conception, specifically, at fertilization.
But pro-choice advocates, including judges, politicians, abortion industry insiders, and supporters in the mainstream media, employ the deceptive tactic of finding scientists who dispute when human life begins and claim the question is an ideological or religious one.
In doing so, the impression created is that science has not answered the question of when human life begins. The impression is false.
For example, a neurologist is a doctor as is a cardiologist. However, it would be absurd to seek information about how the heart works from a neurologist; for such information one would seek a doctor that is a specialist in the area – a cardiologist. Likewise, it would be absurd to seek information about how the brain works from a cardiologist; for such information one would seek a neurologist.
Yet pro-choice advocates seek information about early human development from any scientist except one that specializes in the area – a human embryologist. Again, this is a deliberate tactic employed to conceal the facts of early human development. Because among human embryologists there is a consensus, and the consensus is that life begins at conception. And, to repeat, human embryologists are the experts in this area.
Now, back to discussing the Texas sonogram law. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that “the required disclosures of a sonogram, the fetal heartbeat, and their medical descriptions are the epitome of truthful, non-misleading information.” Chief Judge Edith H. Jones cited the Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that upheld a state’s informed consent law. In that case, the plurality opinion concluding that requiring a doctor to give “truthful, nonmisleading information” to an expectant mother “furthers the legitimate purpose of reducing the risk that a woman may elect an abortion, only to discover later, with devastating psychological consequences, that her decision was not fully informed.”
Supporters of legal abortion constantly insist they are pro-choice, not pro-abortion. Opposition to laws that protect women from deception while providing women the facts necessary for a fully informed choice expose this claim as untrue.