US Supreme Court won't revive NC abortion law

Posted June 15, 2015

— The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from North Carolina to revive a requirement that abortion providers show and describe an ultrasound to a pregnant woman before she has an abortion.

The justices left in place an appeals court decision that said the 2011 North Carolina law was "ideological in intent" and violated doctors' free-speech rights.

The North Carolina law would have required abortion providers to display and describe the ultrasound even if the woman refused to look and listen – a mandate that the court found particularly troublesome.

“North Carolinians should take comfort in knowing that this intrusive and unconstitutional law, which placed the ideological agenda of politicians above a doctor’s ability to provide a patient with the specific care she needs, will never go into effect,” Sarah Preston, acting executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, said in a statement. “We’re very glad the courts have recognized that politicians have no business interfering in personal medical decisions that should be left to a woman and her doctor.”

North Carolina is among 23 states, mostly in the South and the Midwest, which passed laws dealing with the administration of ultrasounds by abortion providers, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research institute that supports abortion rights.

"It makes no sense that federal courts would block a woman's access to life-saving information, which results in over 70 percent of women changing their minds about abortion after seeing their unborn child on an ultrasound screen," Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, said in a statement. "In any other medical procedure, doctors would have a duty to disclose all of the relevant information, and, yet, a procedure as destructive and life-changing as abortion is held to a lower standard."

Justice Antonin Scalia voted to hear the appeal.

The court took no action in a separate abortion case from Mississippi. The state is appealing a lower court ruling that effectively allowed Mississippi's lone abortion clinic to remain open and blocked a state law that would have required the clinic's doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

A second appeals court ruling involving a Texas law imposing restrictions on abortion providers also is expected to make its way to the Supreme Court soon. In Texas, the appeals court upheld the admitting privileges requirement and other provisions that could force 11 clinics to close by July 1, lawyers for the clinics said in court papers.

The North Carolina case is Walker-McGill v. Stuart, 14-1172.


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  • SusanandAaron Tambot-Blankenship Jun 16, 2015
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    GOP the party of no regulation unless you're a woman, a school or anything that would interfere with a monopoly.

  • Randy Riddle Jun 16, 2015
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    It would be helpful if WRAL could have some kind of ongoing info graphic feature about the NC laws being challenged in court and those that have been struck down. There are so many (voter ID, the law on college student voting, charter schools, etc) that it's hard to keep track of what's actually an enforced law and what isn't in the state.

  • Amy Singleton Jun 15, 2015
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    The GOP does not recognize the "middle class" and "working poor". It's "laboring class" and "freeloaders" as opposed to the work smarter, not harder "investment class" and "ownership society". The same ones who make sure we know they are entitled and privileged yet use words like "entitlement" in hypocritical context.

  • Tammy Rush Jun 15, 2015
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    Agreed. She doesn't seem to understand that a woman can still look at the ultrasound if she wants to, she's just not being FORCED to by law.

  • Todd Whitmer Jun 15, 2015
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    Tami Fitzgerald, you are irrelevant and are pushing your ideology onto people that do not believe the same way that you do. Keep your opinions to yourself unless you enjoy sounding outdated and like a total baffoon.

  • Edward Anderson Jun 15, 2015
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    Yay, SCOTUS!

  • Marty Martin Jun 15, 2015
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    Teapublicans seem more interested in lady parts than helping the middle class and working poor. hmm...

  • Jay Tanenbaum Jun 15, 2015
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    Or maybe 1st Amendment rights are important. I suppose Larry that you are against doctors asking patients if their are firearms in the house? Or were one of those that parroted the bureaucrat between yourself and doctor when the ACA was getting passed. I have a better idea, stay out of women's healthcare.

  • Anthony Snark Jun 15, 2015
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    I'm pretty sure that they are already aware of what they are doing.

  • Larry Lava Jun 15, 2015
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    Whew...that was a close one....nobody should have to see what the consequences are for there actions...that is just down right wrong!!! (see sarcasm here)