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Supreme Court Denies Greg Abbott's Emergency Application

The district court’s decision to block portions of this new law, which is intrusive and unconstitutional, was well-supported.

Yesterday evening, Attorney General Greg Abbott submitted an emergency application to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to stay the preliminary injunction of the Texas sonogram law. Today we heard from The Center of Reproductive Rights that the request has been denied.

The Center has released the following information regarding the denial:

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a preliminary injunction motion in the case in June. On August 30, federal judge Sam Sparks blocked enforcement of significant portions of the statute by granting a preliminary injunction in key areas until the case is resolved. Sparks found that Texas' sonogram law violates the First Amendment and certified the case as a class action. He ruled that requiring doctors to show a woman seeking an abortion the sonogram images, describe those images to her or play the sound of the fetal heart, even against her wishes, is unconstitutional.

In response to the court’s order, the State moved on September 12, 2011, for a stay of the injunction pending appeal. After the district court did not enter a stay, the State filed an emergency application with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on September 26. After the Fifth Circuit also declined to issue a stay, the State filed its application with Justice Scalia.

“The district court’s decision to block portions of this new law, which is intrusive and unconstitutional, was well-supported. There is no basis for the State’s attempts to short-circuit the legal process by trying to nullify the court’s decision on an emergency basis” said Julie Rikelman, senior staff attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The Center argues that the Texas law violates the First Amendment rights of both the doctor and the patient by forcing physicians to deliver politically-motivated communications to women, regardless of their wishes. The Center also argues that the law discriminates against women by subjecting them to paternalistic “protections” not imposed on men.