The following is reported in the Charlotte Observer by Craig Jarvis:
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the most controversial part of the state's abortion-restriction law, which goes into effect today: the requirement that patients be presented with a narrated ultrasound image of their womb within four hours of the operation.
U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles granted a request for a preliminary injunction sought by several national and state civil-rights organizations that sued late last month. Eagles upheld all other provisions of the law, at least until the lawsuit is resolved.
Eagles ruled the ultrasound requirement is probably an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment. The rights groups argued that the provision amounted to using women's bodies as virtual billboards to promote government-mandated ideology.
The judge wrote in her order, "The First Amendment generally includes the right to refuse to engage in speech compelled by the government," and she added that freedom of speech precludes limits on "both what to say and what not to say."
Katy Parker, legal director for the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, one of the plaintiffs, said the law would have put medical providers on uncertain legal ground and harmed women.
"The state should not be using women's bodies as political pawns, as this law clearly seeks to do," Parker said.
Read the article in its entirety here: