Victory! Appeals Court Says TX Can Enforce Sonogram Law

This morning, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that the state of Texas can enforce the Sonogram Law while it is being challenged in court.

In an important victory for the unborn in Texas, the court dismissed the claims of the Center for Reproductive Rights and Justice Sam Sparks in a stunning opinion that confirmed the sanctity of life and validated the efforts of Texas pro-life organizations, lawmakers, and Gov. Rick Perry.

Read more Victory! Appeals Court Says TX Can Enforce Sonogram Law

TX Sonogram Law Supporter: “I Would Not Have Had An Abortion If I Had Seen A Sonogram”

This past Wednesday, January 4, in New Orleans, the battle over the Texas “Sonogram Law” waged on.

Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell faced off with Jennifer Rikelman, an attorney from New York’s Center for Reproductive Rights, before a panel of three judges from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The issue at hand? A temporary partial injunction ordered by Justice Sam Sparks in Austin this summer claiming the law violated the free speech rights of abortionists.

The bill, which was signed into law by Texas governor and current Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry last year, would require doctors to show abortion patients an ultrasound of their unborn babies, describe certain attributes of the fetus, such as its size, and allow the mother to hear the fetal heartbeat. While most of the law was temporarily struck down by Sparks, certain portions, such as a 24-hour waiting period, were not enjoined.

As a proud native Texan and Dallas resident, I have written about this case several times, most recently in September when I attended, incognito, a speech by Center for Reproductive Rights president Nancy Northup, hosted by Planned Parenthood North Texas, in which the case – and others like it around the country — was discussed at length.

Read more TX Sonogram Law Supporter: “I Would Not Have Had An Abortion If I Had Seen A Sonogram”

Planned Parenthood CEO: Providing Information Is “Cruel”

Cecile Richards, the CEO of Planned Parenthood, sent out an email asking: “Why is Rick Perry so cruel to women?

Richards complained, among other things, about Gov. Perry’s support of the Texas law that would require abortion providers to show an expectant mother a sonogram of her baby, along with a description and the heartbeat. All facts. No opinions. Just the information that correctly and completely explains the procedure as required for a fully educated choice.

But Richards attacked these measures as “burdens” and “dangerous.” Why is Richards so upset?

Read more Planned Parenthood CEO: Providing Information Is “Cruel”

Writer at Salon Needs a History Lesson

In a bitter article entitled The hypocrisy of “states’ rights” conservatives, Salon writer Ed Kilgore declared, “The 10th Amendment is sacred to the right – except when it comes to fighting abortion and gay rights.”

Salon first accused Texas Gov. Rick Perry of “flip-flopping” on these issues during the last two weeks, and then asked, “Do [conservatives] favor states’ rights or federal domination of state policy-makers on cultural issues? And if it’s the latter, how come so much recent conservative activism on abortion and same-sex marriage has played out on the state level?”

Let’s deal briefly with Perry before switching the focus to conservatives, or more precisely to pro-life advocates. Perry’s initial statements concerning the 10th Amendment were general observations in which he expressed his support for states’ rights while discussing a hypothetical situation where the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and while discussing the recent decision by the New York legislature to legalize gay marriage. In contrast, his follow-up remarks, which according to Salon showed hypocrisy, were specific policy statements. If interpreted as a single policy position, Perry’s comments were seemingly contradictory; he left himself open to criticism.

Read more Writer at Salon Needs a History Lesson

Legal Drama Continues Over Texas Sonogram Law

I like Google. I use it a lot. Sometimes when I get bored I type in random word strings, such as “grapefruit courtney love mosquito” just to see if anything comes up. But I also use Google to find information about what’s going in with the abortion issue in the United States, and that’s the problem: I usually find what I need, and it’s giving me a bleeding ulcer.

Take, for instance, this Reuters article published on Wed., July 6, detailing the Center for Reproductive Rights’ lawsuit against my home state of Texas. They are trying as hard as they can to derail the Sonogram Law, which is supposed to go into effect Sept. 1. According to Reuters:

Under the Texas law, the abortion provider would be required to describe the fetus and its limbs and organs and have the woman listen to the heartbeat of the fetus. It also requires that a woman wait 24 hours after the sonogram before undergoing the abortion… The restrictions are waived in cases of sexual assault, and the waiting time is reduced to two hours for women who live 100 miles or more from the abortion provider.

I wouldn’t have included the sexual assault clause, but it sounds pretty reasonable, right? Not to the CRR. Here is their response:

“This law is asking [doctors] to do something unethical at the cost of threatening to prosecute doctors for a crime, and forcing them to lose their medical license,” said Susan Hays, a Dallas lawyer for the New York-based Center.

How far down the rabbit hole have we fallen when people who are okay with abortion — the legal killing of a human being — use the word “unethical” to describe a doctor showing an ultrasound to an expectant mother?

If we think carefully about what CRR is saying in their lawsuit, it’s not that the mother is being misled. No one is arguing that. They simply can’t argue that, because it isn’t so.

So the CRR’s argument is against a doctor telling the truth to a patient before a procedure. That’s all the sonogram and its description is. In essence: Here is your baby, here are its arms and legs and head, this is how big it is, here is the heartbeat. All true. All factual information. No opinion, no commentary is required by the law. Many women, I know from experience, think of their babies as a “clump of cells.” The ultrasound proves otherwise. Shouldn’t they know, don’t they deserve to know, what it is an abortion will dismember and vacuum out of their womb?

What organization or individual sincerely interested in choice would be against the simple provision of information to a patient about to undergo a serious medical procedure?

None would. But the CRR are not interested in “choice.” They are interested in women continuing to have abortions. They are, as the title of the article accurately describes, a pro-abortion group. If all women in America decided spontaneously tomorrow to stop having abortions forever, do you think the CRR or Planned Parenthood would smilingly accept this? Oh, no. There would be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Choice has nothing to do with it.

We pro-lifers are pro-choice as well. We believe you should have a choice to participate — or not — in sex, which, in case you weren’t aware, more and more scientists believe leads directly to babies in many cases.

Once fertilization occurs, a separate human being is present, and the time for choice is over. It’s no longer “my body, my choice.” It’s a child, and the law should protect it.

The Sonogram Law is an attempt to do just that: advocate for the child who, in an abortion clinic, has no one on its side.

Here’s hoping CRR is unsuccessful in their attempt to deal a serious blow to the rights of the unborn in Texas.

Texas Defunds Planned Parenthood

On Monday, June 27, Texas became the largest state to defund Planned Parenthood. The legislature passed an omnibus health bill that, among other things, will stop the flow of state money to the nation’s largest abortion provider. Lucy Nashed, spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, said, “The governor continues to champion the protection of unborn life in Texas.”

And so he does. Gov. Perry recently signed into law House Bill 15, also known as the Sonogram Law, which requires abortionists to point out features of the fetus to the mother before the abortion and offer her a view of the ultrasound. Because many women go into an abortion thinking of their baby as a “clump of cells,” even those women who decline to look at the sonogram image will be told that their baby has a heartbeat, a head, arms, legs, hands, feet. The truth will save many lives.

Of course, it’s also possible women will sign an acknowledgement form, one of many, before the procedure, never having actually ultrasound3been given the information. But the Sonogram Law is a start, and we take what victories we get, knowing each one may save at least one precious life.

These victories in Texas are not small. Texas already has its own sort of happy notoriety as one of the more conservative and prosperous states in the Union. Often associated in the minds of Americans, for good or ill, with George W. Bush, oil money, and an in-your-face brand of rugged, gun-toting individualism, it makes sense that my home state would be among the first to do what we hope many will do: stop forcing taxpayers to pay for other people’s elective abortions.

In response to news of the defunding, which is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Perry soon, social networking sites were flooded with hyperbolic rants such as the following:

“So much for cheap healthcare for women in Texas!”

“Now where will women get affordable birth control in TX? I sure hope all those pregnant teenagers choose adoption!”

“Rick Perry proves yet again he is not pro-life, he is anti-woman and anti-health care!”

And so on.

Of course, those of us who pay attention to facts know that this maneuver on behalf of the Texas legislature does not kick Planned Parenthood out of Texas. Would that we could! But no, it only stops the flow of state money to the organization.

Funnily enough, the people who screech that PP is the only place for women to get cheap healthcare – which is not true  – don’t seem to understand that other affordable women’s health clinics, even those that provide abortions, could probably manage to become better known if they had anywhere near the budget PP has. We’ve been giving them about $100 million in federal funds per year, and their revenues are in the hundreds of millions. They must spend a good portion of this on PR, because I see their magazine ads every once in a while, and I rarely look at magazines.

As for the contention that PP is actually in the business of providing cheap birth control and healthcare, and that abortions are a sad but necessary service they would rather not provide… Well, it’s hard for me to hear that without laughing out loud. Like Carol Everett and other abortion industry whistle-blowers have told us, birth control pills – usually low-dose – and condoms – usually cheap – are given to young people because abortion providers know eventually they will fail. The only surefire way of avoiding pregnancy is abstinence from sex, and you will never hear PP advocating such a thing. No, we must break down a young woman’s natural modesty, fill her purse with Trojans and little pink compacts, tell her these things will keep her from getting pregnant, and then pat her hand and offer to “help” when she does get pregnant.

Indiana recently became the first state to defund Planned Parenthood, eliciting a strong response from the federal government.  As other states follow in Indiana footsteps, the battle to defund PP is also becoming an interesting states-rights issue.

A friend of mine who has been heavily involved in the pro-life movement as a social worker for many years recently told me that if pro-lifers and anti-lifers were divided geographically the way they were during the struggle for – and against – the abolition of slavery, she could see it leading to another Civil War. But such is not the case. We’re all mixed in together for this fight. However, states with pro-life legislatures and conservative majorities may find themselves locked in a struggle against the federal government for the right to decide for what their citizens should and should not be compelled to pay.

A couple years ago, I overheard two middle-aged career counselors in a public college – one black man, one white woman – discussing taxpayer funded abortions. “People may not like it,” said the black man, “but it’s the law. You gotta do what the law says.”

I couldn’t help but shake my head at the irony of a black man saying this. One hundred and fifty years ago, individuals broke the law to save his forefathers from slavery, torture, and death.

Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is right. Slavery is as old as humankind, but as we grew into a more moral, civilized society, we did what had to be done to eradicate it from our civilization. Now we have the opportunity to do the same thing with abortion, and the good people and lawmakers of states such as Indiana, Wisconsin, and Texas, must not back down from the inevitable fight.

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UPDATE 7/12/11: Kyleen Wright at Texans for Life Coalition was kind enough to point out an interesting fact about the Sonogram Law of which I was not aware. In her words: “Just know, Kristen, that unless abortion advocates prevail in the courts, that sonogram HAS to be displayed where she [the mother] can see it – something we fought very hard for, even as we were attacked by friend and foe alike for it.”

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Kristen Walker is Vice President of New Wave Feminists. Her personal blog can be found here.

Anti-Life Group Files Lawsuit Challenging TX Sonogram Law

TX Gov. Rick Perry signed the Sonogram Bill into law on May 19, 2011.

According to the June 14 issue of The Daily Texan, “A New York-based reproductive rights group filed a class-action lawsuit Monday against a new law passed by the Texas Legislature that increases regulations on Texas women seeking abortions and physicians who perform the procedure.”

The legislation in question is of course the so-called sonogram bill, signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on May 19 of this year. The law requires that women in Texas be given a sonogram before an abortion. The woman is not required to view the ultrasound, but the doctor is required to point out features such as the size of the fetus.

The argument the Center for Reproductive Rights is using to advance its anti-life agenda is privacy, and it is as unsurprising as it is unconvincing. Abortion proponents have been screaming “PRIVACY!” at the top of their lungs since roughly the 1960s. Ironically enough, the “right to privacy” is guaranteed nowhere in our Bill of Rights or other founding documents. (The right to life, however, is the first one mentioned.)

The CRR is behaving as though every abortion took place after a heartfelt, informative discussion between a woman and her private physician, when in actuality the patient at an abortion clinic usually doesn’t see her doctor until she’s got her feet in the stirrups. As former abortion clinic owner turned pro-life activist Carol Everett described in her testimony to the Pro-Life Action League of Chicago, “The doctor walks in, sees the patient for the very first time, pats her on the leg, says, ‘Hi, baby, how are you?’ You call them ‘baby’ so you don’t have to remember their name. And she says, ‘Oh, I’m scared,’ or, ‘I’m cold.’ Never anything positive. And he doesn’t really ask her any questions. It’s just get the abortion done.”

So much for the myth of the noble doctor and his trusting patient, having their sacred and private relationship intruded upon by the tyrannical State. So much for the image of the empowered woman nodding soberly as her comforting physician helps her make an informed decision. That is what CRR would have us believe is going on when they lament, “The law treats women as if they are too immature or incompetent to make their own important medical decisions… It’s very demeaning and patronizing to women.”

Really? It’s demeaning and patronizing to women to require their doctors to make them aware of a medical procedure before they do it? Please give me just a small break.

Can we consider that maybe it’s demeaning and patronizing to women to pretend like we find this law demeaning and patronizing? Do you know how anti-lifers really find this law? Not demeaning. Not patronizing. Threatening. They know that if a woman views an ultrasound of her baby she is less likely to abort it, so they are going to do everything in their power to stop that from happening.

Behind every well-meaning feminist who has convinced herself that giving medical information to a woman is somehow demeaning to her, there is a Planned Parenthood lackey who is desperate to protect a multi-billion dollar business.

Carol Everett again: “I have seen doctors walk out after three hours work and split $4,500 between them on a Saturday morning.” Not too shabby.

And speaking again of an abortion doctor, she said, “If he discovers that she may be farther along than anyone thought she was, they stop right there, collect the money, and then finish the procedure… If abortion is such a good thing, why don’t they give them away? If abortion is such a good thing, why don’t they go ahead and do the abortion then, and trust you to pay the extra $200 when they’re finished?”

I would add: if abortion really doesn’t kill anything, really just rids the woman’s body of an extra clump of cells, why are they worried about showing her a sonogram? Is it because they’re afraid she might see something recognizable, something with a heartbeat, something human?

The sonogram image is a powerful one. It was another abortion provider turned pro-life activist, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, whose documentary “Silent Scream,” which showed a sonogram image of a fetus during an abortion, shocked the world in the early 1980s. President Reagan even had it screened at the White House. Former Planned Parenthood clinic director, now a best-selling pro-life author, Abby Johnson, had the epiphany that changed her life while viewing an ultrasound. Carol Everett said, “I’ve seen sonograms with the baby pulling away from the instruments…”

Who are we helping by withholding this information? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not women.

It’s an industry. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry.

The abortion clinic is not like a birthing center. You won’t find caring people, soft lighting, and comfortable chairs. You won’t have intimate heart-to-hearts with nurses who remind you of your great-aunt and doctors who remind you of your grandpa. You will find instruments of death and people who want your money. It’s a joke that these places are even referred to as “health care” facilities. They are factories, and the products they manufacture are dead children and wounded, empty women.

Gov. Rick Perry Slams Obama Abortion Policy at Unidos Por La Vida

Current TX Gov. and rumored presidential contender Rick Perry had strong words to say at last night’s Unidos Por La Vida conference, a pro-life event organized for the Latino community by Eduardo Verastegui. Live Action president Lila Rose was also a speaker at the event. Videos of Lila’s and Perry’s speeches should be coming soon, but for now, here is some of what Perry said:

He urged the crowd to keep up pressure to roll back the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion until “Roe v. Wade is nothing but a shameful footnote in our nation’s history books.

Perry, a frequent critic of the federal government, also bashed President Barack Obama for his administration’s policy allowing federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, saying he was deeply disturbed by studies that turn “the remains of unborn children into nothing more than raw material.

Since Roe v. Wade, Perry said, “50 million children have lost their chance at life — a tragic legacy of judicial activism and a stark reminder that our culture and our country are still in peril.

We applaud Gov. Perry for his uncompromising stand for the human rights of unborn children. With his words, he is setting an example that all just public officials should follow.

There is no such thing as an unwanted child in the eyes of God,” said Perry, who has invited the nation’s governors to Houston this summer for a prayer event.

Perry criticized Obama for overturning a policy that prevented U.S. funding of organizations that perform or promote abortions in foreign countries.

With the stroke of a pen, abortion essentially became a U.S. foreign export,” Perry said.

Perry was joined on Sunday by Mexican-born movie actor Eduardo Verastegui, whose nonprofit organization co-sponsored the event, and by soap opera star Veronica Castro.

“After he found out about this event, he said he really wanted to unite himself to anything we were doing to end abortion,” Verastegui said of Perry.