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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