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Supreme Court Allows Kentucky Abortion Ultrasound Law to Take Effect

by | Dec 9, 2019

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WASHINGTON EXAMINER — The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal over a Kentucky law that forces health providers to show pregnant women ultrasounds of their fetuses before having abortions.

The decision, issued Monday, means that the Supreme Court leaves intact a 2-1 ruling from the 6th Circuit that the law does not violate doctors’ First Amendment rights to free speech, writing that the information gleaned from an ultrasound was “pertinent” to a woman’s decision-making.

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At least four justices must agree to hear a case for it to be taken up by the Supreme Court. Court observers have been closely watching the court, which now includes Republican-confirmed Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, to see whether they’ll take up cases challengingRoe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Next year, the justices will hear arguments about a Louisiana law that requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

The law in Kentucky, known as the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act, requires doctors who perform the ultrasound also to describe the images and to play the sound of the heartbeat. It allows women to look away from the ultrasound screen and to ask the doctor to turn off the sounds. Doctors who don’t comply can be fined and referred to Kentucky’s medical licensing board.

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