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Judge reluctantly upholds abortion law

Feb. 7, 2012 at 2:52 PM

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Texas says he can't block the state from enforcing a controversial abortion law that requires pre-abortion sonograms.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said he was required to dismiss a challenge Monday to the state's new abortion law because of an appellate decision to overturn a temporary injunction that had kept the law from taking effect last October.

He said the appeals court "eviscerated" doctors' right to free speech by upholding a law that makes sonograms mandatory for women seeking abortion and requires doctors to explain them, The Austin American-Statesman reported.

"The act requires doctors to attempt to discourage their patients from obtaining abortions ... even in cases where the doctors have determined that an abortion is, for any number of reasons, the best medical option," he said in his order," Sparks said. "This court believes Texas overstepped its legitimate authority when it substituted its medical judgment for that of doctors, and imposed a uniform method of treatment for all patients, rather than allowing physicians to make medically appropriate, case-by-case determinations."

Supporters of the new law say they hope it discourages women from having abortions.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a New York-based advocacy group, has asked for a new hearing, the newspaper said.

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