Pregnant woman
Women need to be extra careful when it comes to choosing the right kind of foods to eat when they’re pregnant. That’s because they are eating not only for themselves but also for their baby. IN PHOTO: A pregnant woman is seen in this undated handout image. Reuters/Newscom/Handout

An appellate court has struck down a law in North Carolina that required medical practitioners to show a woman her ultrasound and describe it in detail four hours before abortion. The law was deemed unconstitutional as it forces medical practitioners to promote the state's message discouraging the procedure, the court ruled.

The law on abortion requires that medical practitioners show a woman her ultrasound image and then describe the embryo or fetus in detail and also offer her the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat. Any practitioner found not complying with the law would stand to lose his or her medical licence.

The abortion law, known as the Women's Right to Know Act, was passed in 2011, and was challenged by several groups, including the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

A United States District judge feared that the abortion law violates the First Amendment of the constitution, which not only protects against prohibitions of speech but also against regulations that compel speech. The judge wrote that a regulation compelling speech is by its very nature content-based because it requires the speaker to change the content of his speech or say something in a situation where he would otherwise be silent.

Abortion-rights supporters hailed the move because saying that doctors' premises were no place for propaganda, and that doctors shouldn't be forced to serve as mouthpieces of those parties that want to demean women.

The law was considered a hindrance to safe abortion and women's health. Abortion is otherwise legal in America. The law was put in place because the lawmakers felt that women are not aware that abortion kills their unborn child. Parties that are for the law believed that unless the law is carried out, the medical practitioners cannot ensure truly informed consent.

The state admits that the purpose of the law was to discourage women from going ahead with their abortion.

To contact the writer, email: