In a ruling on Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge David Hale declared that a Kentucky law requiring ultrasounds before a woman can have an abortion violates the First Amendment.
In January, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed HB2 into law. Before the ink had dried on Governor Bevin’s signature, the ACLU sued. Sardonically, Governor Bevin issued the response, “It’s a shocker, shocker, that the ACLU is suing someone. Unprecedented. 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.”
Apparently, the ACLU found a “friendly voice” in Judge Hale.
According to the ACLU and Judge Hale, the most “offending” portions of Kentucky HB2 state:
Prior to a woman giving informed consent to having any part of an abortion performed, the physician who is to perform the abortion or a qualified technician to whom the responsibility has been delegated by the physician shall:
(a) Perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman;
(b) Provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting, which shall include the presence and location of the unborn child within the uterus and the number of unborn children depicted and also, if the ultrasound image indicates that fetal demise has occurred, inform the woman of that fact;
(c) Display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view the 26 images; Ascultate the fetal heartbeat of the unborn child so that the pregnant woman may hear the heartbeat if the heartbeat is audible;
(e) Provide a medical description of the ultrasound images, which shall include the dimensions of the embryo or fetus and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable.
The ACLU lawsuit claims that “HB2 requires physicians to subject their patients to these images, descriptions, and sounds, when the patient is in a particularly vulnerable and exposed position.”
Explaining his ruling, Obama appointee Judge Hale wrote, “Requiring physicians to force upon their patients the information mandated by HB 2 has more potential to harm the psychological well-being of the patient than to further the legitimate interests of the commonwealth.”
(If I may blatantly editorialize for a moment — if we accept the assertion of pro-abortion organizations that a fetus is not a baby and that an abortion is simply a clean, morally neutral medical procedure, how are women being psychologically harmed?)
Governor Matt Bevin and the state of Kentucky are not simply going to roll over and allow the ACLU and activist judges run rough-shod over babies’ right to life, though. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports,
Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican who championed the law when it was approved by the General Assembly in January, quickly promised to appeal the decision by U.S. District Court Judge David Hale.
“We are disappointed in the Court’s ruling and will appeal immediately to the 6th Circuit,’ said Amanda Stamper, a spokeswoman for Bevin. ‘We are confident the constitutionality of HB 2 will be upheld, as similar laws have been in both the 5th and 8th Circuits.”