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Supreme Court lets Kentucky law requiring ultrasounds before abortions stand

Supreme Court lets Kentucky law requiring ultrasounds before abortions stand

Pro-abortion protesters and pro-life activists jostle with their signs as they demonstrate in the hopes of a ruling in their favor on decisions at the Supreme Court building in Washington, U.S. June 20, 2016. | (Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday rejected a case brought against a Kentucky law requiring mothers to view an ultrasound and listen to audio of their child’s heartbeat before going through with their abortions. 

The nation’s high court offered no reasoning for its decision to let stand a Kentucky law that has been blocked by courts since it was enacted in 2017. But the court’s decision paves the way for the law to finally be enacted.

The law requires mothers to look at an ultrasound of their child while a doctor describes the ultrasound to the patient. Doctors are also required to play audio of the fetal heartbeat.

“We are encouraged by today’s Supreme Court decision that lets Kentucky’s pro-life ultrasound law stand,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life lobbying group Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement. “Modern ultrasound technology opens an unprecedented window into the womb, providing indisputable evidence of the humanity of the unborn child.”

Abortion rights supporters chided the court’s decision. The law was challenged by Kentucky’s only abortion clinic, EMW Women’s Clinic of Louisville, which was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU contends that the court’s decision “allows extreme political interference in the doctor-patient relationship.” The ACLU claims that the law violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

“Kentucky’s law is just one example of the ways politicians punish and stigmatize people who have already decided to have an abortion,” the ACLU tweeted. “Abortion is a right — and it’s legal in all 50 states.”

The pro-abortion advocacy group NARAL argued that the law “shames women for accessing basic care.”

“Mandating transvaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortion care is not only medically unnecessary — it’s violently invasive,” NARAL wrote in a tweet.  

Proponents of the legislation argue that patients looking to abort have the right to “informed consent.” 

“Women facing an unexpected pregnancy deserve to have as much medically and technically accurate information as possible when they are making what could be the most important decision of their life,” March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said in a statement. 

Dannenfelser contends that the “abortion industry has proven incapable of policing itself and will stop at nothing to keep vulnerable women in the dark for the sake of profit.”

Pro-life activist Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action,

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