Supreme Court leaves Kentucky’s ultrasound law in place


LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP/WTVQ) – The Supreme Court has left in place a Kentucky law requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients before abortions.

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

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The American Civil Liberties Union had challenged the law on behalf of Kentucky’s lone remaining abortion clinic.

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, Virginia, struck down a similar measure in North Carolina.

ACLU of Kentucky Staff Attorney Heather Gatnarek said the law takes away a physician’s judgement.

“Even if the patient says, I don’t want to hear it and even if the doctor feels that it’s not in the patient’s best interest or not in line with medical ethics to be doing this, they will now have to,” Gatnarek said.

Executive Director of The Family Foundation Kent Ostrander said he disagrees and women need to be informed.

“For the first time in 46 years since Roe vs. Wade women in Kentucky can be assured that they’ll get the full information before they decide to have an abortion,” Ostrander said.

Gatnarek said it’s standard medical procedure for physician’s to provide ultrasounds.

“This isn’t a question of whether doctors are doing ultrasounds, or aren’t doing ultrasounds, they will always do ultrasounds,” she said.

Ostrander sees it differently.

“I hate to say it, but the abortion industry has made plenty of money by telling young women that it’s just a blob of tissue,” he said. “And this ultrasound is the window into the womb.”

Gatnarek said while the ACLU is disappointed, its client EMW Women’s surgical center in Louisville, the only remaining abortion clinic in Kentucky, will now apply this law into its practice.


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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or