ACLU Files Suit as Kentucky Governor Signs Bill Requiring Ultrasound Prior to Abortion

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has signed a bill requiring that women obtain an ultrasound prior to proceeding with an abortion, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to file suit.

Bevin signed H.B. 2 on Monday, which requires not only the abortionist or technician to conduct the ultrasound, but to also display the images for the abortion-minded mother and allow her to hear her baby’s heartbeat.

“[T]he physician who is to perform the abortion or a qualified technician to whom the responsibility has been delegated by the physician shall … display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view the images [and] ascultate the fetal heartbeat of the unborn child so that the pregnant woman may hear the heartbeat if the heartbeat is audible,” the bill reads in part.

It provides an allowance for the mother to avert her eyes if she does not wish to see her child. The abortionist may also turn off the sound of the heartbeat at her request.

The bill overwhelmingly passed the House on Thursday 83-12, and was then approved in the Senate 32-5 on Saturday. It was to go into effect immediately upon Bevin’s signature.

But the ACLU quickly filed suit on behalf of the sole licensed abortion facility in the state, EMW Women’s Surgical Center, asserting that the requirement “profoundly intrudes on the practice of medicine and violates basic principles of medical ethics.”

“It forces physicians to deliver a government-mandated, ideological message to patients in violation of the First Amendment, all the while causing harm to their patients,” the lawsuit reads. “It also compels women to listen to this government-mandated speech while lying captive on the examination table.”

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The ACLU also asserts that “seeing the ultrasound image and hearing the physician describe the embryo or fetus or play the heartbeat will be distressing” for some women.

The organization is seeking an injunction as well as a declaration that the ultrasound law is unconstitutional.

Bevin Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Bevin said that he isn’t concerned about the legal challenge, and characterized the lawsuit as unsurprising.

“It’s a shocker, shocker, that the ACLU is suing someone. Unprecedented,” he quipped. “We anticipated as much; that’s what they do, that’s what liberals always do when they don’t like something. They go to the courts, hope to find friendly voices and things.”

Bevin also signed a bill into law on Monday that bans abortions after 20-weeks gestation, or five months. Planned Parenthood criticized the measure as being “dangerous to women” and an attack on “reproductive health care.”

As previously reported, Philadelphia legal writer, educator and Christian apologist Francis Wharton, who wrote several books on American law, penned an entire chapter on abortion in his book “American Criminal Law,” which was published in 1855.

Wharton called abortionists “persons who are ready to degrade their humanity to this occupation” and stated in regard to abortion in general, “Such conduct cannot be too strongly condemned, and is the more deserving of receiving the punishment awarded for the criminal offense in question.”

He proceeded to outline the wonders of fetal development in his book, showing that even in the fourth and fifth week of development, the facial features of the baby are distinctly recognized.


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  • Patrick

    Regardless of how far along in the pregnancy, be it 20 weeks or 8 and a half months, it is still wrong and is murder. Whether it is because of an unfortunate incident, such as rape or incest, it is still murder.

  • Michael C

    When did big-government intrusion with over-regulation with the intent of limiting our Constitutional freedoms become a good thing? I thought Bevin was a Republican?

    • Tangent002

      Another smack in the face of women everywhere.

    • cadcoke5

      One of the Constitutional rights is the right to life. But, abortion is not listed as a constitutional right. Rather, it was one created by activist judges.

      • Ambulance Chaser

        Doesn’t matter. A right enumerated in a Supreme Court decision is still a right.

        • cadcoke5

          You might propose a constitutional amendment limiting the right to life to only after you have fully traveled that 6″ journey out from your mother’s womb (half way out is not good enough according to some judges). But, the supreme court does not have this authority.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Well until that Constitutional Amendment passes, Roe v. Wade governs.

  • Trilemma

    If the abortion industry was truly giving women all the information they needed to make an informed decision about abortion, this law would not be necessary.

  • Tangent002

    How much cost does this add? Who pays for it?

  • bowie1

    Isn’t this done even with a normal pregnancy where an abortion is not requested? If it is routine can it be illegal?

    • Tangent002

      An ultrasound is not a routine part of a 1st trimester abortion.

      • bowie1

        I was thinking of pregnancies in general to check on the baby’s progress.

        • Tangent002

          I don’t recall exactly when my ex-wife had her first ultrasound. I think it was around four months for our first son and three months for our second, since she was considered at a higher risk the second time around.

    • Tangent002

      The constitutionality of forcing someone to undergo, and pay for, a medical procedure is dicey at best, regardless of how ‘routine’ it is.

      • bowie1

        There are costs involved regardless of who pays for it, the patient or tax payers.

        • Tangent002

          Not sure how that is relevant.

          • bowie1

            It’s very relevant since the woman having to pay for her own abortion claims it limits access to it, so then the burden falls on the taxpayer who are against taking a human life.

          • Tangent002

            Look up the Hyde Amendment.

  • Tangent002

    If the ACLU suit is successful, it could affect similar ultrasound laws in other states.

  • james blue

    There is no medical reason for this law. If a woman is going for an abortion she knows she is pregnant. This is big authoritarian social conservative government mandating and if this is constitutional then the same tactic will be used against things you like.

    • Trilemma

      Yes, there is a medical reason for this law. If a women views an ultrasound she might change her mind about getting an abortion. And that is medically significant, especially for the child.

      • Tangent002

        The state has no business attempting to influence a woman’s medical decisions.

        • Trilemma

          Yes it does. Especially when an industry tries to keep important information from women.

          • Tangent002

            You are making the assumption that women are incapable of making decisions on their own.

          • Trilemma

            No. My assumption is that women are quite capable of making decisions on their own. That’s why they should be given all the information needed to make the right decision for themselves.

          • Tangent002

            Again, you are assuming they do not have ‘all the information’.

          • Trilemma

            I’ve read testimonies by women who said that if they knew then what they know now they would not have gotten an abortion. So, no, women do not have all the information they need.

          • Tangent002

            Oh, I’m sure there are lots of ‘testimonials’ out there. Yes, women do have regrets, but it is not the business of the government to assume incompetence.

          • Trilemma

            The abortion industry has already demonstrated incompetence so the government should get involved.

      • james blue

        That’s not a medical reason, that’s a ideological influence reason

        • Trilemma

          Some people, for ideological reasons, would like women to choose not to abort. Others, for ideological reasons, would like women not to not change their minds. What matters is whether the information itself is ideological. There is nothing ideological about an ultrasound. It’s just medical information. If the doctor started reading pertinent Bible verses, then that would be imposing an ideological influence. An ultrasound is simply medical information that a woman should use to make a decision based on her own ideologies.

          • james blue

            What does an ultrasound tell a pregnant women seeking an abortion that she doesn’t already know?

          • Trilemma

            What it looks like.

          • james blue

            And she wouldn’t know what it looks like already because?

          • Trilemma

            Most women don’t have access to ultrasound equipment. Sure, a woman can look at pictures on the internet, but that’s not the same as seeing a live image of what’s actually inside her at that instant.

          • james blue

            Okay, but what is she finding out that she doesn’t already know?

          • Trilemma

            Maybe nothing. There have been a number of studies to find out if a woman would change her mind about getting an abortion if she viewed an ultrasound. The numbers I’ve seen range from about 5% to 80% would change their mind and not get the abortion. That would indicate that some percentage of women find out something they didn’t already know.

  • Robert

    Satan smiles when people work to get little children murdered.

  • Robert

    satan smiles when christians think the laws pf the constitutiom of the united states are authoritive and must be followed even over what they know God has said in his bible and wants.