US judge says he can't block Texas sonogram law

By JIM VERTUNO | February 6, 2012 | 4:45 PM EST

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge will not attempt to block a Texas law requiring women to have a sonogram before having an abortion.

District Judge Sam Sparks previously ruled parts of the law unconstitutional, but a federal appeals court overturned his decision last month. Sparks said Monday he has to follow the higher court's order and it wants the law in place.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights says it will continue to pursue appeals to block the law requiring doctors to show women images of their sonograms, to play fetal heartbeats aloud and describe the features of a fetus at least 24 hours before an abortion.

The law has exceptions in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity and for women who travel great distances to a doctor.