The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Kentucky law requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds on women seeking abortions. The justices offered no comment on why they declined to hear a lawsuit challenging the law, but their dismissal ensures that the pro-life law remains in place.
In early 2017, the Kentucky legislature passed the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act, which requires doctors to explain details of each fetal ultrasound, as well as play the sound of the fetal heartbeat, prior to a woman having an abortion. Women may avert their eyes and ask that the audio of the heartbeat be muted. Doctors that fail to comply with the law may face fines and risk being reported to the state’s medical licensing board.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state on behalf of EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Kentucky’s last remaining abortion clinic, arguing that “display and describe” ultrasound laws violate physicians’ speech rights under the First Amendment.
U.S. District Court Judge David Hale blocked the law from being enacted in 2017, but the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that injunction back in April.
“The information conveyed by an ultrasound image, its description and the audible beating fetal heart gives a patient great knowledge of the unborn life inside her,” wrote Judge John Bush from the 6th Circuit. “This also inherently provides the patient with more knowledge about the effect of an abortion procedure: It shows her what, or whom, she is consenting to terminate.”
Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, agrees: “Women facing an unexpected pregnancy deserve to have as much medically and technically accurate information as possible when they are making what could be the most important decision of their life.”
“The last thing the abortion industry wants is for moms to come face to face with the personhood of their child,” Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, wrote on his Washington Update blog. “It’s why they’ve poured millions of dollars into fighting heartbeat bills, sonograms, even basic medical disclaimers. When it comes to abortion, technology is—and always has been—the single biggest enemy of the Left. Nothing comes between women and their business more than the truth about these tiny humans in the womb—humans that yawn, smile, suck their thumbs. … It’s hard enough to get moms to destroy their babies. But it’s near impossible once they see and hear how intensely human their children are.”
Save the Storks, a pro-life organization that partners with pregnancy resource centers across the country to equip them for mobile medical ministry, claims that four out of five women who board a Stork Bus and are offered an ultrasound choose life for their baby.
ICU Mobile, a similar pro-life mobile ultrasound ministry, reports that more than 56% of those that come to their vehicles and have already decided to have an abortion choose life after viewing an ultrasound. And nearly 88% of those who step on their buses considering an abortion change their minds.
“Modern ultrasound technology opens an unprecedented window into the womb, providing indisputable evidence of the humanity of the unborn child,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “The abortion industry has proven incapable of policing itself and will stop at nothing to keep vulnerable women in the dark for the sake of profit, which is why state laws protecting women’s rights to informed consent are so important.”
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