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.