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Activists fight injunction against N.C. mandatory ultrasound law

Ultrasound-machine-300x400_2805.jpg
Ultrasound-machine-300x400_2805.jpg

The anti-abortion groups Jubilee Campaign’s Law of Life Project (LOLP) and the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) have filed a motion to intervene in the injunction of a North Carolina law that would have forced abortion providers to show women an ultrasound and describe it to them before providing an abortion. Last month, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles put implementation of the law on hold “until she can hear more arguments.” The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit against the state in October alleging that “the new law violates the rights of health care providers and women seeking abortions.”

In a press release today, the anti-abortion groups said:

As their stories are described in LOLP’s Motion to Intervene filed today, LOLP’s clients, taken together, are uniquely and expertly poised to present the more than reasonable medical, humanitarian and legal reasons why the Act is constitutional and should be permitted to go into full effect.

LOLP represents medical professionals, pregnancy medical centers who exist to freely assist women and men facing an unplanned pregnancy, as well as women harmed by abortions to which they never would have consented had they been given the information required by the Act. These voices are vital and their important perspective should be fully represented in court. “Giving women the information they need before such a weighty decision is clearly more important than an abortionist’s bottom line,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Those attacking this law are obviously more concerned about financial gain from abortion than the best interests of women and their preborn children.”

Reproductive rights advocates and other opponents of North Carolina’s law argue that ultrasound mandates subject women to emotional pain and “violate the medical ethics of doctors who feel the government is forcing them to carry out the Republican-controlled Legislature’s ideology,” the Associated Press previously reported.

“If the ultrasound requirements were put into effect, this law would place doctors in a murky legal situation and inflict unnecessary harm on women,” said Katy Parker, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation “The state should not be using women’s bodies as political pawns, as this law clearly seeks to do.”

The state of Florida also passed a law this year requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion, whether it is medically necessary or not. However, Florida has avoided a legal challenge because the law includes an opt-out provision. In Florida, women can bypass a description or viewing of the ultrasound by signing a form.

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