Supreme Court leaves Kentucky’s ultrasound law in place

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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.