High court won’t review decision to strike down forced ultrasound law

High court won’t review decision to strike down forced ultrasound law
© Greg Nash

The Supreme Court on Monday decided not to take up a controversial North Carolina law that would have forced women to undergo a “narrated ultrasound” before receiving an abortion.  

The North Carolina law had been declared unconstitutional by district and federal courts after it was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Opponents of the law were quick to celebrate the court’s decision not to review the case.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court decided not to review the decision striking down this law. Doctors shouldn’t be forced to humiliate a woman and disregard their best medical judgment in order to provide an abortion,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.

The law, which passed in 2011 over the veto of then-Gov. Bev Perdue (D), instructed women to "listen to the heartbeat of the unborn child."

Mandatory ultrasound laws have been increasingly popular among conservative legislatures who have taken aim at abortion access in recent years. Abortion-rights activists have protested that the laws are attempts to “personify the fetus” and to make the procedure more costly.

Ten states require ultrasounds before abortions, and three require the woman to see the images.