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Texas Panel Upholds Demeaning Law
Today a three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals chaired by a judge openly hostile to Roe v. Wade reversed a lower court ruling and upheld a demeaning and intrusive Texas ultrasound law that would intimidate and judge women seeking reproductive health care. In 2011, the Texas legislature attacked women’s health by slashing funding for preventive family planning health care — taking basic health services away from nearly 300,000 low-income women and threatening to completely eliminate the Texas Women’s Health Program, which provides preventive health care, including birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings, to 125,000 low-income women.
The ruling today means that Texas can force doctors to use ultrasounds to shame a woman in the exam room — or deny her care.
Statement from Cecile Richards, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, on the Texas ruling:
“On behalf of all of our patients, Planned Parenthood is outraged by this law and the subsequent court ruling. Politicians forcing doctors to use an ultrasound for political — and not medical — reasons is the very definition of government intrusion. This is a terrible day for Texas women and their families, and this decision sets an abhorrent precedent as state legislatures across the country convene for 2012 sessions.
“Physicians providing abortion care in Texas see women who are facing a wide range of circumstances. This law prevents them from providing victims of rape and incest, or women who are facing the loss of a much-wanted pregnancy, with the most compassionate and medically appropriate care according to their needs.
“This law has no basis in medicine — it is about the personal prejudice of politicians and judges substituting for what should remain the judgment of women and their doctors. This decision comes as state legislatures across the country are considering bills to end women’s access to preventive care, including birth control and cancer screenings, as well as bills or ballot measures that could make common methods of birth control, treatment for ectopic pregnancies, and all abortion care illegal.
“Let us be absolutely clear: we oppose this law and all others that judge and demean women seeking reproductive health care.”