Stuart v. Camnitz, No. 14-1150 (4th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, physicians and abortion providers, filed suit challenging a North Carolina statute that requires physicians to perform an ultrasound, display the sonogram, and describe the fetus to women seeking abortions. N.C. Gen. Stat. 90-21.85(b). The court concluded that a heightened intermediate level of scrutiny in this case is consistent with Supreme Court precedent and appropriately recognizes the intersection here of regulation of speech and regulation of the medical profession in the context of an abortion procedure. The Display of Real-Time View Requirement is unconstitutional because it interferes with the physician's right to free speech beyond the extent permitted for reasonable regulation of the medical profession, while simultaneously threatening harm to the patient's psychological health, interfering with the physician's professional judgment, and compromising the doctor-patient relationship. Accordingly, the district court did not err in concluding that section 90-21.85 violates the First Amendment and in enjoining the enforcement of that provision. The court affirmed the judgment.