NRL News

Next Step for the Sonogram Law

by | Sep 8, 2011

Editor’s note. This update was provided by Texas Right to Life

Elizabeth Graham, Texas Right to Life

During the recent 82nd Texas Legislative Session, the Sonogram Bill (House Bill 15) was passed and signed into law by Governor Rick Perry.  This historic law protects a pregnant woman’s right to view her unborn child and hear the heartbeat of that child before finalizing her decision to continue or terminate her pregnancy.  Tragically on Tuesday, August 30th, federal district court Judge Sam Sparks enjoined crucial parts of this law – further jeopardizing the health of women undergoing abortions—just two days before the law was to go into effect.  The injunction was sought by the New York based Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion advocacy think-tank.

This delay will keep core sections of the law from protecting women until the suit is concluded in his court.  Pro-Life Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is skillfully defending the law on behalf of the state of Texas; he quickly filed an appeal on the same day that the lower court released the injunction.

The sonogram law will now follow two legal paths.  Judge Sparks will decide the outcome of the lawsuit filed to protest the entire Sonogram Law.  However, the question of whether the law can be enforced during this consideration by Judge Sparks’ will be settled in the higher 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

If the 5th Circuit Court rules favorably with the state of Texas and Attorney General Abbott—meaning the law takes effect while the constitutionality is examined, Judge Sparks must comply with 5th Circuit’s decision to enforce compliance. 

Elizabeth Graham, Director of Texas Right to Life, reminds supporters that Texas Right to Life and Senator Patrick worked alongside each other for five years on the Sonogram Bill to protect a woman’s right to informed consent before an abortion.  In his ruling, Judge Sparks accuses both the plaintiffs and defendants of waging an ideological war in his court room, yet he has done exactly that by enjoining the main points of the Sonogram Law.  The Sonogram Law is a common sense piece of legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick and Representative Sid Miller to ensure that women receive all the medical facts prior to making a life-changing decision to abort an unborn child.  To delay this law taking effect is to further jeopardize the health of women entering abortion clinics.”

Texas Right to Life is strongly committed to this live-saving legislation and will continue to fight for full enactment and enforcement of this law on all levels of the sonogram lawsuit.  Please check in for more updates and commentary at

Categories: Legislation