Appeals court upholds 2017 ultrasound law

Record Staff Report

The bishops of Kentucky welcomed an April 4 ruling by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that upholds Kentucky’s 2017 ultrasound law.

The law was passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2017 and signed by Gov. Matt Bevin. It was immediately challenged in court and was struck down in district court later that year.

The law requires a physician or technician to perform an ultrasound on a woman seeking an abortion and show the screen images to her. The doctor or technician is required to inform the mother what the images show and seek the fetus’ heartbeat.

The statue allows the woman to refuse to view the ultrasound and she may ask the provider to mute the heartbeat.

Kentucky’s four bishops, including the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, said in an April 5 statement they applaud the appeals court’s ruling.

“The statute in question was passed to ensure women have access to unbiased and medically sound information about abortion procedures and the unborn child in the womb before making an irreversible decision to have an abortion,” the bishops said. “The court held that this is a legitimate interest of the Commonwealth and that a doctor does not have a right to withhold such information.”

The statement adds, “Given the devastating effect that abortion has on both the unborn child and often the mother who later regrets the abortion, it is vitally important that women have all of the information they need to make a decision that is as fully informed as possible. HB 2, when implemented, will ensure that all women have this essential information.”

The bishops also expressed appreciation to lawmakers “for making the protection of children and women in vulnerable situations a top priority.”

This year lawmakers passed several bills to limit abortion and the governor signed them into law.

The General Assembly also passed a measure that requires mothers who are pregnant or nursing to be accommodated in the workplace. Gov. Bevin signed the Kentucky Pregnant Workers’ Act, Senate Bill 18, into law on April 9.

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