There is at least one judge in Louisiana with some sense and respect for the law. NPR reports that U.S. District Judge Ralph Tyson has placed a temporary restraining order on the requirement that any woman seeking an abortion be forced to have an ultrasound first, and view the results of that ultrasound before having an abortion.
This is good news not only for women in Louisiana, but for women in other states where similar laws have been passed. While the key will be finding a judge willing to actually evaluate the facts in light of the Constitution, this is certainly a step forward.
The right wing has spent a lot of time working to get laws passed (mostly in Southern states) that are clearly discriminatory to women, violate their rights, and are just a stalking horse for an excuse to try and overturn Roe vs. Wade.
The assault on women's reproductive rights has been relentless in 2010.
Louisiana (temporary restraining order granted):
One of the new laws would block abortion doctors from participation in a state-run medical malpractice fund. The other would require women about to undergo abortions to first have an ultrasound examination and receive a photograph of the ultrasound image.
Legislators in eight states introduced measures to require that ultrasound services be offered to a woman seeking an abortion. Missouri was the only state in which a measure was approved, and the governor is widely expected to allow it to go into effect without his signature. Three other states currently require providers to offer ultrasound services to women (see Requirements for Ultrasound).
Measures enacted this year in Utah and West Virginia place requirements on a provider who is performing an ultrasound in preparation for an abortion. The Utah law requires the provider to offer to show and describe the image to the woman. The new law in West Virginia is similar but explicitly allows the woman to choose whether or not to view the image. These two new laws bring to 10 the number of states with such provisions.
Finally, legislatures in three states—Oklahoma, Florida and Louisiana—moved to enact or strengthen requirements mandating that women seeking an abortion first obtain an ultrasound. Oklahoma adopted the most stringent measure. It would require abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on every woman obtaining an abortion, display the image to her and provide a verbal description; the woman would be entitled to “avert her eyes” if she did not want to view the screen. The measure is identical to one passed in 2008 that was overturned by a state court on procedural grounds. The new law, written to avoid the procedural issues, was nonetheless challenged immediately upon enactment, and enforcement is currently blocked pending the outcome of the litigation.
And of course, let's not forget the assault on the Affordable Care Act:
Meanwhile, legislators in 14 states (including states that already have laws applying to all private plans) introduced measures that would limit coverage of abortion through the insurance exchanges that will be set up under health care reform by 2014. Legislation has been enacted in four states. Arizona’s new law permits coverage only in cases of threats to the woman’s life or health, while Mississippi’s permits coverage only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. Laws in Louisiana and Tennessee prohibit all coverage of abortion, with no exceptions. Legislation approved by the legislature in Missouri is awaiting action by the governor, and measures in Florida and Oklahoma have been vetoed.
Just one more reason to keep the wingers out of Congress and by extension, out of women's reproductive systems.
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