NRL News

Appeals Court to hear challenge to North Carolina’s ultrasound law

by | Oct 29, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

Barbara Holt, President, North Carolina Right to Life

Barbara Holt, President, North Carolina Right to Life

Pro-lifers are nothing, if not patient. The last time we wrote about the “Right to View” provision of North Carolina’s “Woman’s Right to Know” law North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper had just said the state would appeal U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles’ January 17 decision to issue a permanent injunction.

Well, I just learned that, according to the Associated Press’s Larry O’Dell, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would hear arguments today in Richmond, Virginia.

When Cooper announced his decision, we asked Barbara Holt, president of North Carolina Right to Life, for her thoughts. “We are pleased that Attorney General Cooper has decided to defend North Carolina’s ultrasound law in spite of his opposition to the pro-life provision,” she said “A mother has the right to an opportunity to see an ultrasound image of her unborn child and to hear her baby’s heartbeat in advance of an abortion. How else can she make a fully informed decision to have the abortion, which will take the life of her unborn child?”

Holt added, “This is critically important information about her developing unborn child which many mothers who later regret their abortions say they wish they had been given at the time of their abortion.”

Judge Eagles issued a preliminary injunction less than 24 hours before the law was to go into effect in October 2011. She enjoined the “Right to View” provision on First Amendment grounds, holding that this “generally includes the right to refuse to engage in speech compelled by the government.”

The provision enjoined by Judge Eagles requires that an ultrasound image of the unborn child be displayed at least four hours prior to an abortion so that the mother might view it and that she be given the opportunity to hear the unborn child’s heartbeat.

Click here to read the October issue of
National Right to Life News,
the “pro-life newspaper of record.”

The remainder of the law took effect the same day. Left intact are provisions for a booklet containing scientifically accurate information about risks, alternatives and information on the development of the unborn child, compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services, be offered to the mother at least 24 hours prior to an abortion so that she might have the opportunity to read and understand the information.

Her permanent injunction was handed down last January. In mid-February Cooper said he would appeal Judge Eagles’ decision

The law, passed with bi-partisan support, was enacted in July 2011 over then-Governor Beverly Perdue’s veto.

Categories: Judicial