Houston Chronicle: Texas appealing judge's ruling on abortion law

By April Castro

"A new law aimed at reducing the number of abortions in Texas is set to go into effect this fall, but some of the toughest provisions will likely be tied up in litigation for months.

The state is appealing a judge's ruling that it's unconstitutional to require doctors to display an ultrasound image of the fetus or embryo, make the heartbeat audible and describe its organs and size to a woman before performing an abortion.

The remainder of the law, which applies to abortions starting Oct. 1, requires women to undergo an invasive vaginal sonogram at least 24 hours before an abortion is performed.

'Very experienced Ob/Gyns were already doing ultrasounds well before this law,' said Julie Rikelman, a senior staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which sued to block portions of the law. 'The focus of the lawsuit is that it was basically requiring doctors to act as a political agent ... just to do it because it was the government's political agenda.'

The law is one of dozens of anti-abortion measures that advanced through state capitals across the U.S. this year.

'It'll require more women to make two visits to the doctor, which is obviously burdensome to some women,' Rikelman said.

She said the appeal filed Tuesday could take up to a year."

Read the complete Associated Press story on the Houston Chronicle website >