APPEAL WON! 4-4-2019 | APPEAL CHALLENGED! 5-17-2019

Ultrasound Law

Will of the People

An Ultrasound Bill, HB 2, passed both the House and Senate during the 2017 Kentucky Legislative Session.

Even though the bill passed and we celebrated its signing with Governor Bevin at the Rally for Life, our joy was short-lived.

The new law was challenged nearly immediately by the ACLU and the EMW clinic. Judge David Hale heard arguments from the opponents and from attorneys for the State of Kentucky, and overturned the law in late September 2017. Pro-life Governor Matt Bevin promised to appeal the decision.

On July 25 a panel of judges from the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals met in Cincinnati to hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU. Judges Alan Norris, Bernice Donald, and John Bush served on the panel. Hear the proceedings of the hearing at the Appeals Court - Audio file online

Deputy General Counsel Chad Meredith argued the case for HB 2, which simply stipulates that the state of Kentucky has the right to regulate the use of an ultrasound for a woman before an abortion is performed. This bill requires the physician to display and explain the ultrasound to the patient. For the sake of the full disclosure of information, the doctor is also required to make audible to the patient the heartbeat of her unborn child. The woman can elect to avert her eyes or ask for the audio to be muted. The Appeal succeeded!

“The Ultrasound Informed Consent Act” (HB2) is summarized in Judge John K. Bush’s Opinion:

H.B. 2 directs a doctor, prior to performing an abortion, to perform an ultrasound; display the ultrasound images for the patient; and explain, in the doctor’s own words, what is being depicted by the images—for example, pointing out organs and whether the patient is pregnant with twins. KRS § 311.727. There is no requirement that the patient view the images or listen to the doctor’s description. The doctor also must auscultate the fetal heartbeat but may turn off the volume of the auscultation if the patient so requests. Id. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in the doctor being fined and referred to Kentucky’s medical-licensing board. KRS § 311.990(34). But H.B. 2 does not penalize a doctor if the patient requested that the heartbeat sound be turned off or chose not to look at the ultrasound images. KRS § 311.727(3). Nor does H.B. 2 penalize a doctor if she or he exercises discretion to advise a patient that she need not listen to or view the disclosures, or if the doctor makes any other statement, including advising the patient to have an abortion. Finally, a doctor need not make any disclosure from H.B. 2 at all if an abortion is medically necessary or in the case of a medical emergency. KRS § 311.727(5).

Many good outcomes were enabled by this Court Decision to uphold HB 2:

  1. It shows respect for the legislators who passed the Ultrasound Law. Yes, they have a legitimate duty to protect unborn life.
  2. A number of common-sense reasons for accepting this law were given in Judge Bush’s Opinion, to paraphrase:
    • Informed consent is common in the medical profession and not excluded in the Roe decision but rather indicated by Roe’s acknowledgement that The state has a legitimate interest in protecting the life of unborn children.
    • The First Amendment rights of the doctor not to “speak” are not relevant since it is common in medical practice to describe aspects of a condition or procedure that a patient needs to be aware of. Thus, the inclusion of the 14th amendment in arguing the case as the right of Free Speech for all persons does not apply. (This was where the Dissenting Opinion by Judge Bernice Donald was focused. The arguments are complex and can be read in full here.)
    • As was argued in a related case (Gonzales v. Carhart), the woman must live with her decision, and since it is an established fact that some women come to regret their abortion, experiencing depression and more, the importance of informed consent is incumbent upon the provider.
      These clear reasons may serve to guide other suits and appeals.
  3. As pointed out by Gov. Bevin, the ruling rejects “the notion that the Kentucky legislature must follow what pro-abortion groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the National Abortion Federation (NAF) say.” Unfortunately, our nation’s medical associations have fallen or are falling under the spell of the culture of death. (See this post for an example.)
  4. It saves our state a lot of money. The Plaintiffs must pay the legal tab which is significant. How much? Let’s be crass and ask. Please let us know if you know. We’re sure it’s in the hundreds of thousands.

We congratulate the Bevin Legal Team that achieved the victory.

Just when we pro-lifers are at our collective wits’ end with the conscience of a nation that seems to agree, “Let the devil take the hindmost,” we have been given a gift. It seems to be a down payment on future work to overturn Roe. It’s a much needed deposit.


UPDATE on MAY 22, 2019

Disappointing News: The Appeal victory has been Appealed. Read more.


VIDEOS THAT PROVE ULTRASOUNDS SAVE LIVES

Seeing ultrasound of son makes pro-choice man think again

Parents Reject Abortion After Ultrasound Shows Identical Twins Cuddling Each Other

Planned Parenthood Defeats Bill to Allow Women to See Ultrasound of Their Baby Before Abortion

ACLU Waging All-Out War to Prevent Women From Seeing Ultrasound of Their Baby Before an Abortion

Woman Rejects Abortion After Seeing Her Baby’s Heart Beat on an Ultrasound

Planned Parenthood Sues to Stop Women From Seeing Ultrasound of Their Baby Before an Abortion

Court Rules Women Aren’t Allowed to See Ultrasound of Baby Before Abortion

Abortion Activist Hates Ultrasound Photos Because They 'Advance the Idea a Fetus is a Person'

78% of Pregnant Women Seeing an Ultrasound Reject Abortions

Ultrasound Technician: ‘There is Nothing More Heart-Wrenching’ Than Seeing Babies Who Will be Aborted

Seeing a Baby on Ultrasound Made Abortionist Quit, Become Pro-Life

Kentucky Legislature Passes Bill Allowing Women to See Ultrasound of Baby Before Abortion

Planned Parenthood Was Shocked When I Sought the Ultrasound Photo of the Baby I Aborted

North Carolina Law Letting Women See Ultrasound of Baby Before Abortion Heads to Court

Supreme Court Prevents Women in North Carolina From Seeing Ultrasound Before Abortion

Mother Rejects Abortion After Seeing Baby’s Smile in Ultrasound

Idaho: To Save Babies From Abortion State Provides Lists of Free Ultrasound Locations

Wisconsin Pro-Life Group: Emily’s List Lying About Ultrasound Bill Scott Walker Signed

Supreme Court Won’t Hear Case Striking Oklahoma’s Ultrasound Law on Abortion

Focus on the Family Ultrasound Program Saves 146,000 Babies From Abortion

Victory: Appeals Court Upholds Texas’ Ultrasound-Abortion Law

’I Didn’t Expect Him to Be So Big’: Ultrasound Saves Unborn Baby From Abortion

Louisiana Gov. Jindal Signs Pro-Life Ultrasound-Abortion Bill

The ultrasound that changed my life - Abby Johnson’s pro-life conversion in her own words

The media’s attack on the ultrasound fails the test of both history and science

‘I saw little arms, little legs, and a head!’: Mom leaves abortion clinic after seeing ultrasound

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Kentucky Right to Life

Kentucky's largest and oldest right to life organization and the official state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee

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