Lawyers for the ACLU urged a judge on Thursday to block a Kentucky ultrasound law that requires abortion practitioners to describe the unborn baby and show the mother its image and heartbeat.
The law, one of two that Kentucky lawmakers passed with high priority in January, requires that an abortion practitioner conduct an ultrasound before the abortion (Ultrasounds routinely are performed before abortions anyway). The abortion practitioner also must describe the unborn baby’s image, including its organs and heartbeat, and allow the woman to see her baby’s image and listen to the heartbeat. The law went into immediate effect in January.
Abortion activists quickly challenged the law. On Thursday, ACLU lawyers asked U.S. District Judge David Hale to temporary block the law while their lawsuit proceeds in court, according to the Courier-Journal. Hale did not immediately rule on the request.
The ACLU represents EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, the last abortion clinic in the state. Abortionist Tanya Franklin told the judge Thursday that some of her patients are distraught because they have to look at the ultrasound images.
Here’s more from the Associated Press:
“Some of them are crying, some of them are sobbing, some of them are defeated and desperate,” she said.
[Attorney for the state Steve] Pitt said any concern for the unborn was “missing in action” from the ACLU’s arguments and their witnesses.
He said there was “nothing ideological” in the law’s requirements, saying it seeks to ensure women are fully informed before undergoing an abortion. The lack of complete information risks inflicting emotional harm on women long after they have abortions, he said. Kentucky law already requires counseling 24 hours in advance of an abortion.
Pitt said it takes only a few extra minutes for abortion doctors to attempt to show and explain the images, adding that’s not “much of a burden” in the interests of protecting the woman and fetus.
Pitt said the information may help women realize the fact that their unborn child is a living human being. He said these facts may prompt them to reconsider going through with the abortion.
Franklin said she did not know of any patients who changed their minds after seeing the ultrasound.
It is unclear when the judge will rule on the request from the ACLU.
State Rep. Kimberly Moser, R-Taylor Mill, previously said the law will help to ensure that women are fully informed before making a final decision about an abortion.
“It is with accurate information that a patient can make an informed decision regarding their treatment, whether it is treatment for a brain tumor requiring an MRI or CAT scan, or if it is to determine the health and the progress of a pregnancy through an ultrasound,” Moser said.
Wyoming lawmakers passed a similar ultrasound law earlier this month.
Ultrasounds provide valuable information to pregnant moms as they consider abortion. A survey by the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates found that 78 percent of abortion-minded or abortion-vulnerable women chose life after seeing an ultrasound image of their unborn baby. Most women (83.5 percent) also said the ultrasound had a positive impact on their decision to choose life for their baby.
Hearing their unborn baby’s heartbeat also can impact a woman’s decision about her unborn child. Save the Storks recently shared the story of a woman who chose life for her baby after seeing her unborn child’s heartbeat.
This information is bad for business in the abortion industry. Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and other abortion advocacy groups routinely fight against laws that require abortion clinics to show women the ultrasound images of their unborn babies, lobbying against them before they become law and filing legal challenges when they do.