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Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Transvaginal Ultrasound Anti-Abortion Law

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A federal appeals court has ruled that a North Carolina law forcing women to undergo transvaginal ultrasound probes and view images of fetuses is unconstitutional.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled that a 2011 North Carolina law mandating doctors performing abortions first perform invasive transvaginal ultrasound probes, deliver specific messages, and show specific images is unconstitutional.

Reagan-appointed Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III declared that forcing doctors to describe in detail images of a fetus that a woman is asking to be aborted was “compelled speech” that is ideological and not medical in nature, and thus unconstitutional. The focus of the ruling was on the doctor’s free speech rights and a woman’s right to not be forced to listen, more than the invasive transvaginal probe itself.

“This compelled speech, even though it is a regulation of the medical profession, is ideological in intent and in kind,” Judge Wilkinson wrote, striking down the “Women’s Right to Know Act” that had been vetoed by the governor but overridden by lawmakers.

“The means used by North Carolina extend well beyond those states have customarily employed to effectuate their undeniable interests in ensuring informed consent and in protecting the sanctity of life in all its phases,” Wilkinson’s ruling states. “We thus affirm the district court’s holding that this compelled speech provision violates the First Amendment.” 

“While the state itself may promote through various means childbirth over abortion, it may not coerce doctors into voicing that message on behalf of the state in the particular manner and setting attempted here.”

The law, Judge Wilkinson notes, “finds the patient half-naked or disrobed on her back on an examination table, with an ultrasound probe either on her belly or inserted into her vagina.”

“Informed consent has not generally been thought to require a patient to view images from his or her own body,” he continues, “much less in a setting in which personal judgment may be altered or impaired…Rather than engaging in a conversation calculated to inform, the physician must continue talking regardless of whether the patient is listening…The information is provided irrespective of the needs or wants of the patient, in direct contravention of medical ethics and the principle of patient autonomy. …And it is intended to convey not the risks and benefits of the medical procedure to the patient’s own health, but rather the full weight of the state’s moral condemnation. Though the state is plainly free to express such a preference for childbirth to women, it is not the function of informed consent to require a physician to deliver the state’s preference in a setting this fraught with stress and anxiety.”

 

Image via Flickr
Hat tip: Reuters and Reason

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'NO SHAME'

‘You Singlehandedly Blocked the Emmett Till Antilynching Act’: Rand Paul Scorched Over His MLK ‘Commemoration’

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Many House and Senate lawmakers are honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., today, but social media users are correcting the record of so many Republicans who are trying to use the late, great American civil rights leader and icon as a shield for their own egregious attacks on civil rights and Black Americans.

Take, for example, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, who posted this tweet attempting to paint himself as a bipartisan actor “working together for change” – which many were quick to provide proof of how he is not:

Sen. Paul’s Democratic challenger in the upcoming 2022 race, Charles Booker, offered some of the best examples:

Several others joined in to chastise the right wing Senator:

 

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'WHAT'S THE NEXT LINE?'

‘Performative Drivel’: Marco Rubio Mocked and Schooled After Taking MLK Quote Out of Context

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Washington Post National Political Reporter Eugene Scott set the stage Sunday evening:

Sure enough, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio was only too happy to oblige, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The Florida Republican, who almost daily posts a Bible passage to Twitter, is notorious for being among the many conservatives who are battling Critical Race Theory, the right’s latest non-existent boogey man.

Rubio has introduced legislation with far right extremist U.S. Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), to “prohibit federal funding to promote divisive concepts, such as Critical Race Theory.” A companion bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) and Virginia Foxx (R-NC).

Just as Scott warned, Senator Rubio posted a tweet that reads:

“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.” Dr. Martin Luther King (1963)

It’s from the third paragraph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and it exposes Rubio’s ignorance and hypocrisy.

New York Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie was among those who asked, “so, uh, what’s the next line?”

Bouie offered Rubio the answer:

He was far from the only one to chastise and expose Rubio.

Equality Florida’s Press Secretary Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub anti-LGBTQ hate crime massacre (which Rubio used to reverse his promise to never run for office again):

“And yet you filibuster his dream over and over,” tweeted American Independent Senior Writer Joshua Israel.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, the award-winning New York Times journalist and creator of “The 1619 Project”:

More:

 

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WTH?

Lara Trump Thinks Microsoft Office Assistant ‘Clippy’ Is a Real Person Spying on Everything She Writes

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Fox host Lara Trump either has a new conspiracy theory, or she is very confused.

Hosting the 5 p.m. EST hour, Trump was ranting about Microsoft Word’s Clippy and the suggested changes to words like “postman” into “letter carrier” and “mankind” into “humankind.” It’s part of the right’s latest attack on “wokism,” which they define as anything done in polite society that makes them uncomfortable.

“Someone is reading this?! And assessing what I’m writing?” Trump said, assuming that a person was actually watching and reading what she was typing in Word instead of an AI programed into what they call “office assistant.” It was once named Clippy, and it was never a real person.

According to Trump, the “office assistant” is a lot like her fancy new car that doesn’t require a key, just a push-button to start it. She said that the car wouldn’t start if she didn’t jingle the keys around. That’s false. Push-button start cars use safety technology that requires your foot on the break, the car in park, and the key fob in the car with you. It’s essentially a small low-frequency transmitter. So if the car won’t start, it’s likely that you need to replace the batteries.

According to Microsoft, the assistant doesn’t have to be turned on.

“The checker can be turned on and off in a menu called ‘Grammar & Refinements’, which lists everything it checks: Age bias, Cultural bias, Ethnic slurs, Gender bias, Gender-Neutral Pronouns, Gender-Specific Language, Racial Bias, Sexual Orientation Bias and Socioeconomic Bias,” said the statement.

See Lara Trump’s rant below:

 

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