Court Victory for LA Ultrasound Before Abortion Act
August 19, 2010. Baton Rouge, La. Yesterday, a Temporary Restraining Order entered against the Louisiana “Ultrasound Before Abortion Act” at the request of New York abortion lawyers was dissolved by order of a federal court judge. Bioethics Defense Fund, a public-interest legal organization that drafted the legislation and provided legal consultation in the court proceedings, applauded the court’s ruling allowing the ultrasound law to into effect immediately.
Dorinda Bordlee, Senior Counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund, stated:
We congratulate the Louisiana Attorney General’s office for successfully obtaining a judgment that clears the way for informed decisions. Science tells us when life begins, but the real question is when love begins. Legislative testimony confirmed that for many abortion-minded women, love began when they had the opportunity to see their unborn child on an ultrasound screen. Various forms of ultrasound legislation are enacted in approximately fifteen states.
The abortion clinic’s claims for declaratory and injunctive relief were dismissed with prejudice, and the federal court judge ordered that the abortion clinics were not entitled to attorney fees.
The court’s order was based on a Joint Stipulation filed by all parties specifying that Louisiana’s newly enacted ultrasound law requires, among other things, that the person performing the mandatory pre-abortion ultrasound must read a script offering the woman the option to receive an ultrasound print, and that the law does not require the provider to compel the woman to accept the photo.
The law also requires Louisiana abortion clinics to provide the woman with a list of facilities that provide ultrasound services free of charge at least 24-hours before a scheduled abortion. The Joint Stipulation provided that this provision will be enforced only after the abortion clinics receive the list, which is in the process of being prepared and distributed by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
In his order dated August 18, 2010, U.S. District Judge Ralph Tyson of the Middle District of Louisiana dismissed the Louisiana officials named as defendants, including Attorney General James D. Caldwell, Interim Secretary Tony Keck of the Department of Health and Hospitals, and several officials referred to as the “Medical Board Defendants.”
Bioethics Defense Fund provided pro bono legal advice to the Attorney General’s office on behalf of the bill’s author, Senator Sharon Weston Broome, who stated in legislative committee that “[t]his is a bill that empowers women.”
Nikolas T. Nikas, President and General Counsel of Bioethics Defense Fund, said,
Ultrasound Before Abortion legislation in the states provides an excellent opportunity for pro-life progress. Bioethics Defense Fund is available to provide pro bono legal consultation to legislators and policy-makers who wish to enact the ultrasound legislation just upheld by a Louisiana federal court.
Bioethics Defense Fund
Law in the Service of Life
Contact: Dorinda C. Bordlee, Senior Counsel, Bioethics Defense Fund, firstname.lastname@example.org, (504) 231-7234
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