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A federal judge last week blocked key provisions of a new Texas law requiring a doctor to perform a sonogram before an abortion, ruling the measure violates the free speech rights of both doctors and patients.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks upheld the requirement that sonograms be performed, but struck down the provisions requiring doctors to describe the images to their patients and requiring women to hear the descriptions.
The law — one of dozens of anti-abortion measures that advanced through state capitals across the US this year — took effect last week. Supporters argued the law ensures women fully understand what an abortion entails and some women have regretted having abortions and would lead to fewer abortions in Texas. About 81,000 abortions are performed every year in Texas.