North Carolina is yet another state that’s seeking to rollback the abortion rights of their female constituents. A law that requires women to obtain an ultrasound before they can move forward with an abortion. However, a federal judge did halt the ultrasound requirement, noting it could be a violation of a woman’s First Amendment rights.
She upheld other sections of the law, including a 24-hour waiting period to provide information on abortion risks and alternatives.
The American Civil Liberties Union and four pro-choice groups contended in a lawsuit filed last month that requiring women to view ultrasound images and providing an opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat promotes government-mandated ideology. Proponents of the law, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in July over the veto of Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue, say the requirement would promote childbirth and protect women from emotional trauma.
Judge Eagles ruled that state officials “have not articulated how the speech-and-display requirements address the stated concern in reducing compelled abortions, and none is immediately apparent.” The First Amendment prohibits government directives on “both what to say and what not to say,” she wrote.
She added: “The Supreme Court has historically taken a dim view of content-based speech compelled by the government.”
The ultrasound portion of the law would have required the woman to see the image at least four hours before an abortion, describe what she is seeing on the ultrasound and offer her the chance to hear the heartbeat of the fetus. It would have also required medical practitioners to talk with the woman about the dimensions of the fetus and point out any visible organs.
Since states are wary of directly challenging Roe v. Wade, they are looking at backdoor attempts to strip away bit by bit a woman’s right to choose. These male dominated Republican legislatures are in the business of restricting women’s access to quality reproductive health services, including abortion services. NPR earlier this year reported state legislatures across the country collectively have stepped up to chip away at the right to choose. States such as Oklahoma, Ohio, Mississippi, Texas and others have all in some form of fashion declared war on abortion rights. Even at the federal level, lawmakers have worked to require women to jump through extra loopholes before exercising their right to choose.
I should note that Texas’ law requiring women to have an ultrasound was struck down in August.
Republicans dominating at the state and federal level have declared war on women, their uteri and their rights to choose. In the name of protecting zygotes “life,” Republicans and anti-choice activists are more interested in protecting an embryo’s right to stake out a woman’s uterus while at the same time treating women like children and precluding them from receiving full access to quality reproductive health services.