Supreme Court Upholds Kentucky Law Requiring Abortionists to Describe Ultrasound to Woman


"The only reason to force doctors to display and describe an ultrasound before an abortion - against a patient's will - is to shame and coerce someone who has made a decision to end a pregnancy".

The court rejected the case without comment or noted dissent by any of the justices.

Lower courts have been divided over "display-and-describe" ultrasound laws.

CTIA disputed the content of the notice, saying it is misleading because the FCC has concluded that carrying a cell phone is safe.

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"While the patient is half-naked on the exam table with her feet in stirrups, usually with an ultrasound probe inside her vagina, the physician has to keep talking to her, showing her images and describing them, even as she tries to close her eyes and cover her ears to avoid the speech", the brief from EMW Women's Surgical Center said.

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a case challenging a Kentucky abortion regulation, leaving the law intact.

In Kentucky, doctors must describe the ultrasound in detail while the pregnant woman listens to the fetal heartbeat.

The law "does not require anyone to follow a set script; rather, the physician or qualified technician who is making the required disclosures can use his or her own words", the state of Kentucky wrote in court briefs.

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Challengers, including an abortion clinic, brought a First Amendment challenge arguing that the law forced a patient to see the images even if she didn't want to. Doctors can be fined and referred to the state's medical licensing board if they fail to comply with the Kentucky law.

The Kentucky clinic pointed out that a different appeals court had struck down a North Carolina law that was materially identical to the Kentucky law.

"By refusing to review the Sixth Circuit's ruling, the Supreme Court has rubber-stamped extreme political interference in the doctor-patient relationship", senior staff attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas said in a statement.

In the appeals case, Judge John Bush, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, said the information conveyed by an ultrasound image is pertinent to a woman's decision making because it provides the patient a greater knowledge of the unborn life inside her.

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On the Louisiana law case next year, the high court's ruling could lead to new curbs on access to abortion. Bevin, a Republican, is an outspoken abortion opponent. The law was passed in 2017. Those laws have triggered several legal challenges. He narrowly lost his reelection bid last month.