A Kentucky law requiring a physician to display and describe a fetal ultrasound to patients seeking abortions has survived an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices declined to take up the case brought by a Kentucky abortion provider, EMW Women’s Surgical, that argued the law violated physicians’ First Amendment right of free speech.
Monday’s ruling allows H.B. 2, Kentucky’s forced, narrated ultrasound law, to take effect. The physicians at Kentucky’s last abortion clinic will be forced to subject every patient to their ultrasound images, a detailed description of those images, and the sounds of the fetal heart tones prior to an abortion — even if the patient objects or is covering their eyes and blocking their ears, and even if the physician believes that doing so will cause harm to the patient.
Early next year, the court will hear an abortion rights case from Louisiana involving a law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The case will be the first test on abortion for the court’s new majority of justices appointed by Republican presidents, including President Donald Trump’s two nominees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.