Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Sep/11

1

Free Speech at the Abortion (or anti-abortion) Clinic (2)

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In a mildly encouraging development (and one that follows a somewhat similar case concerning politicians playing doctor, but in New York) a federal judge has blocked at least part of the new Texas sonogram law. Over at the Washington Monthly, Steve Benen has the details:

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked key provisions of Texas’ new law requiring a doctor to perform a sonogram before an abortion, ruling the measure violates the free speech rights of both doctors and patients. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks upheld the requirement that sonograms be performed, but struck down the provisions requiring doctors to describe the images to their patients and requiring women to hear the descriptions.

The law is an example of Big Government Conservatism at its most offensive. To hear Republicans tell it, the GOP’s line on health care is straightforward: the party wants government to steer clear of the doctor-patient relationship, and certainly has no use for bureaucrats making medical decisions and imposing care instructions based on some kind of ideological agenda. For that matter, it’s important, Republicans say, for politicians to appreciate growing health care costs, and not mandate unnecessary medical procedures.

The Republicans’ sonogram measure in Texas ignores all of those principles, forcing government into the examination room and empowering state officials to make a medical decision, while imposing care instructions based on an ideological agenda.

Indeed, under this Texas law, women would not only have to receive a sonogram whether it’s medically necessary or not, but medical professionals would be forced to tell their patients, against their will, what Republican policymakers want the patients to hear. Doctors who refused could face criminal penalties and the revocation of their medical license.

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6 comments

  • Don Kenner · September 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Mmm… I agree with this post. Big Government Conservatism is almost more annoying because it comes from those make claims for liberty and freedom from politics. However, is it really a good thing that the state of Texas is not allowed to make stupid rules?

    Or put another way, would it not be more constitutional for individual states to be left to their own devices regarding such things, secure in the fact that whatever mistakes they make, those mistakes will not be any worse (or cost any more) than those imposed by the Fed?

    I’m happy about the ruling, but isn’t it the same happiness I feel when an entire town bans smoking, rather than let local institutions work these rules out?

  • Charles · September 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I must not be clever enough to figure out how laws against killing other people amount to “big government.” One would think that if we are to have ANY government, that its primary purpose is simply to preserve life and property. It is not rational to think of a living human being in utero as property. Nor is it rational to try to derive criteria for which human life is worth protecting ex post facto. But like I said, I’m not clever enough to justify snuffing out human heartbeats to make my own life more convenient.

  • oft · September 1, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    The founding fathers mandated abortion was a felony, a violation at common law. It is only the twisted nature of man to allow the murder of babies in the womb. Even in the case of rape, the son shall not be punished for the sins of his father. The framers took this morality from: Jer 1, Hosea 9, Judges 13, Exo 21, Psalm 51, etc.

    In this realm, the framers gave the States no right whatsoever as this right violates the Laws of Nature’s God in the DOI–echoeing Alexander Hamilton and Blackstone:

    “Any human laws contrary to the Divine Law is null and void.”
    –The Farmer Refuted, 1775

  • John · September 2, 2011 at 12:56 am

    This is liberal judicial activism, pure and simple. No matter what your stand is on the morality of abortion itself, the obvious conservative position is that abortion laws should be decided by the legislature, not the courts. I couldn’t find the judge’s opinion, but I’m sure it’s full of penumbras and emanations.

  • Mark in Spokane · September 4, 2011 at 5:33 am

    How is the Texas law any different than a host of informed consent or mandatory disclosure laws that are rife within the modern medical profession? I recently got a hearing aid and the audiologist sat me down and gave me a 20 minute talk, reading off of forms provided to him by the government, including a line by line reading through the text of an actual state statute from the Revised Code of Washington detailing all the things the state thinks I need to know about my hearing aid. If abortion is just another medical procedure, no more morally significant than any other, then why should abortionists get an out from the disclosure requirements that are simply part and parcel of the modern world?

  • pinkothe · September 6, 2011 at 1:56 am

    And all of the comments are from people who will never be pregnant. Are you guys willing to let me mandate what you can and cannot do with your penises? Let’s begin with this simple premise – the Founders didn’t insert Viagra or Cialis into the Constitution. It’s time to accept impotence as God’s Plan For You.

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