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Stuart v. Huff

Last Update: September 29, 2011

What's at Stake

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina and the Center for Reproductive Rights have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a new North Carolina law that requires abortion providers to show women an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before having an abortion, even if the woman objects. The law violates the constitutional rights of health care providers and women seeking abortions.

The law, which was recently passed over the governor’s veto, requires abortion providers to perform an ultrasound and place the image in front of the woman’s eyes. The physician is then required to describe the fetus in detail, and offer the woman the opportunity to hear the “fetal heart tone.” While the law technically permits the woman to avert her eyes and to “refuse to listen,” the abortion provider has to continue with the description and may not move the screen away. The law requires the woman to wait an extra four hours after the ultrasound before she can have the abortion whether or not she wants to look at the pictures or hear the description. Physicians and medical facilities who do not comply with the law may put their medical license at risk and/or face criminal penalties.

The ACLU is asking the Court to strike down parts of the law as unconstitutional.

Status: Complaint Filed

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