Rick Perry's Abortion Emergency
Texas ushered in one of the country's more invasive anti-abortion measures on October 1, despite the fact that a court blocked large portions of the law. The new law, which forces women to have a sonogram and wait 24 hours before they can have an abortion, was expedited at the behest of Gov. Rick Perry and anti-abortion groups in the state. The bill was passed under "emergency" status in May, and since then Perry and his allies have been fighting to implement it ASAP.
Reproductive rights groups succeeded in getting a court to block some of the more contentious parts of the law from taking effect. In August, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks blocked the state from enforcing the portions of the law that would have forced doctors to show a woman the image of the ultrasound, verbally describe the fetus in detail, and make the woman listen to audio of the heartbeat. The judge ruled that those provisions are unconstitutional, violating First Amendment rights. The version of the law that passed would have required doctors to carry them out even if the woman refused. It did, however, provide exceptions for women who are pregnant as the result of rape or incest, or if there are fetal abnormalities.
While the judge granted a temporary injunction on those provisions—at least until the actual court case goes forward—doctors in the state are still required to perform the ultrasound, and the woman still must to wait 24 hours before she can have an abortion. The same doctor must perform both procedures. (The law did grant an exception to the 24-hour rule for women who live more than 100-miles from an abortion clinic, but it's unclear in the text who would be responsible for verifying that this was in fact the case for women seeking an abortion.)