Abortion Ultrasound Ruling: Supreme Court Refuses To Hear North Carolina Case

An ultrasound abortion case will not be heard by the United States Supreme Court. The high court announced earlier this week that it would not consider a North Carolina “narrated ultrasound” law, which has become highly controversial. The law would have required woman to undergo the specific type of ultrasound before the termination of the pregnancy could begin.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued just a one-sentence order in the ultrasound abortion ruling. Such a practice, as well as giving no reason for the refusal, is reportedly customary. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented, but also did not note a reason for the decision. A total of 10 states currently have laws which require women to hear the heartbeat of their unborn baby before having an abortion. Pro-choice activists have claimed that such laws “personify the fetus” and make abortions more expensive.

Because SCOTUS did not opt to hear the narrated ultrasound case, a ruling issued in an appeals court decision stating that the North Carolina law is unconstitutional will be upheld. The appeals court ruled that First Amendment protections were violated by the abortion ultrasound law.

“The state cannot commandeer the doctor-patient relationship to compel a physician to express its preference to the patient,” Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a member of the Fourth Circuit three-judge panel, stated in a unanimous decision in the case issued in December.

Similar abortion ultrasound laws have been in South Dakota and Texas have been upheld on federal appeal. North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper, urged the Supreme Court to hear Walker-McGill v. Stuart, No. 14-1172. Cooper said that the narrated abortion law is “perfectly consistent with the First Amendment, as a reasonable regulation of medical practice.”

Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the North Carolina abortion law.

Abortion activists and pro-choice advocates are celebrating the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the North Carolina abortion law.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court decided not to review the decision striking down this law. Doctors shouldn’t be forced to humiliate a woman and disregard their best medical judgment in order to provide an abortion,” ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Director Jennifer Dalven said.

What do you think about abortion ultrasound laws?

[Image via Shutterstock]

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