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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- A federal judge in North Carolina says a state law requiring women who want an abortion to have an ultrasound and then have a medical provider describe the image to them is a violation of constitutional free-speech rights.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles ruled Friday that states don't have the power to force a health care provider to be the bearer of an ideological message in favor of carrying a pregnancy to term.

Eagles had put the law on hold a few months after the Republican-led state legislature passed the law in 2011.

She said then that providers did not have to place an ultrasound image next to a pregnant woman so she can view it, describe its features and offer the patient the chance to listen to the heartbeat.

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