‘If ultra-sound provision survives court challenge, thousands more unborn lives will be saved,’ says executive director
By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
October 31, 2014
RICHMOND, VA. – Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, heard arguments for nearly an hour as it considered a section of the Woman’s Right to Know (WRTK) Act. The measure passed the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011.
In January, U.S District Judge Catherine Eagles ruled against the ultrasound provision of the abortion law, which requires a medical professional display and describes sonogram images to a pregnant woman before aborting her pregnancy.
Passed by a bipartisan majority, the WRTK Act ensures that women considering an abortion are provided with information about all their options and requires a 24 hour waiting period. Never implemented was the “speech and display” portion of the law – a section that mandates an ultrasound a woman may view and a verbal description of her unborn child.
When abortion providers filed suit against the law, Judge Eagles issued an injunction against the requirement and ruled it a violation of free speech – a ruling Gov. Pat McCrory said the state should accept without appeal.
“This is one case where I’m glad our Attorney General, Roy Cooper, didn’t listen to our Governor and appealed,” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Women that seek an abortion are about to make what is arguably the most important decision of their life. They need all the information they can get.”
According to the Raleigh News and Observer, Judge Allyson Duncan asked attorney, Julie Rikelman of the Center for Reproductive Rights, what was wrong with the state’s efforts to communicate to a woman its concerns about her life and the life of her unborn child. Judge J. Harvey Wilkinson indicated, however, to NC Solicitor General John Maddrey, he thought the ultrasound provision was intrusive, saying “a half-clothed or naked patient” during a medical procedure was an “odd setting for informed consent to take place.”
The plaintiffs in the case, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights, continue to maintain the new law is a violation of free speech rights. They allege it requires abortion providers to express the state’s concerns.
But the state countered there is no First Amendment right to practice medicine, and the requirements fall under the government’s authority to regulate professions,” the News and Observer also reports.
Dr. Mark Creech said the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals was a very liberal court, but he still hopes the ultrasound provision will survive their ruling. He referenced an earlier decision made by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding a Texas abortion law that made more sense than the Eagle’s decision.
That court ruled, in part, “…the provision of sonograms and the fetal heartbeat are routine measures in pregnancy medicine today. They are viewed as ‘medically necessary’ for the mother and the fetus….The point of informed consent laws is to allow the patient to evaluate her condition and render her best decision under difficult circumstances. Denying her up to date medical information is more of an abuse to her ability to decide than providing the information.”
“I sincerely pray the ruling of the 4th Circuit restores the ultrasound provision. Christians should pray to that end,” said Dr. Creech. “We’ve already learned from data provided by the North Carolina Center for State Statistics that the pro-life measures that passed the General Assembly in the last three years have saved more than 8000 unborn children. Thousands more lives will be saved if the ultrasound provision overcomes these court challenges. There are few things so powerful to deter an abortion as a mother seeing the face of her unborn baby,” he added.