On Monday, the US Supreme Court has rejected the North Carolina’s request to revive its law that requires doctors to perform a narrated ultrasound on a woman seeking an abortion asserting that such a move was intended by the state to convince women seeking abortions to change their minds or reassess their decisions.
A district court and the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit have previously ruled this 2011 law as unconstitutional ruling that the law unduly burdened the doctors’ free speech rights under the Constitution’s First Amendment. The appeal court had further stated that the ‘state cannot commandeer the doctor-patient relationship to compel a physician to express its preference to the patient’.
The North Carolina law was passed in 2011 and it compelled doctors to perform an ultrasound, display the sonogram and describe in detail, the foetus to women before she could decide to have an abortion. Shockingly, the law applied even to women who were victims of rape and incest, or those who were discovered with severe foetal anomalies.
Abortion rights advocates have welcomed the Supreme Court’s action. However, North Carolina conservative lawmakers had argued that requiring narrated ultrasounds would provide crucial information to women that is indispensably needed. A trail of such legislations has followed the US Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
Steven Aden, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal advocacy group that supports abortion restrictions stressed that anyone performing a risky surgery should fully inform the patient of what the procedure is and what it does, therefore, the abortionists should not be exempted from the standard.