Supreme Court Upholds Kentucky Law Requiring Doctors to Perform Ultrasounds and Show Fetal Images to Patients Before Abortions

April Lanham, center, undergoes a procedure in Frankfort, Ky., that allows the audience at a Kentucky legislative meeting to hear her unborn son’s heartbeat, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 in Frankfort, Ky. The U.S. Supreme Court made a decision Monday to keep in place a law that requires doctors to give an ultrasound and show fetal images to patients before abortions. Photo from Kentucky Today/Tom Latek

Pro-life supporters in Kentucky were pleased with a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday that left in place a Kentucky law requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients before abortions.

The justices did not comment in refusing to review an appeals court ruling that upheld the law.

The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law on behalf of Kentucky’s lone remaining abortion clinic in Louisville. The ACLU argued that “display and describe” ultrasound laws violate physicians’ speech rights under the First Amendment.

The federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld the Kentucky law, but its sister court in Richmond, Va., struck down a similar measure in North Carolina.

In Kentucky, doctors must describe the ultrasound in detail while the pregnant woman listens to the fetal heartbeat. Women can avert their eyes and cover their ears to avoid hearing the description or the fetal heartbeat. Doctors failing to comply face fines and can be referred to the state’s medical licensing board.

“This means the 6th Circuit [Court of Appeals] opinion in our favor will be upheld,” said Steve Pitt, the general counsel for outgoing Gov. Matt Bevin. “The mandate we’ll issue shortly, the stay will be lifted and presumably the requirement that ultrasounds be performed and doctors describe what is in the womb, will begin within a few days now. We assume and trust that is what will be enforced.”

The law was passed in 2017 and signed by Bevin, a pro-life governor who said that agenda was one of the hallmarks of his term.

“From the beginning we have thought on the things that matter,” Bevin said. “We have fought for the sanctity of human life, we have fought for the dignity of taxpayers, we have fought for the educational opportunity of kids in our inner cities who have been failed. We have fought at every turn to help people have better life, better opportunity.”

Todd Gray, the executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, called the court’s decision “good news for Kentucky.

“We thank the Lord for this decision. We also thank state leaders for protecting the unborn,” he said. “People who are pro-life want mothers to have as much information as possible so they can make the best decision for their babies.”

Pitt says there had been similar cases before the Supreme Court.

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Source: Baptist Press