On Thursday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a remarkable Kentucky law requiring doctors to play the sound of a baby’s heartbeat and show and describe the child’s ultrasound to a mother before she undergoes an abortion.
According to the ruling, the state’s “Ultrasound Informed Consent Act” doesn’t violate the Constitution.
The three-judge panel was split.
Judge John Bush wrote the decision:
“H.B. 2 provides relevant information. The information conveyed by an ultrasound image, its description, and the audible beating fetal heart gives a patient greater knowledge of the unborn life inside her. This also inherently provides the patient with more knowledge about the effect of an abortion procedure: it shows her what, or whom, she is consenting to terminate. That this information might persuade a woman to change her mind does not render it suspect under the First Amendment. It just means that it is pertinent to her decision-making.”
The law had been successfully challenged by the EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C., and related physicians in district court.
But Bush asserted informed-consent laws governing abortion should be upheld, so long as the information given is factual:
“[E]ven though an abortion-informed-consent law compels a doctor’s disclosure of certain information, it should be upheld so long as the disclosure is truthful, non-misleading, and relevant to an abortion. … Because H.B. 2, like the statute in Casey, requires the disclosure of truthful, non- misleading, and relevant information about an abortion, we hold that it does not violate a doctor’s right to free speech under the First Amendment. We also hold that the Attorney General, Defendant-Appellant Andrew Beshear, is not a proper party to this case. “
Also noted was the fact that the mother can choose to have the volume turned off, and that she doesn’t have to look:
“There is no requirement that the patient view the images or listen to the doctor’s description. The doctor also must auscultate the fetal heartbeat but may turn off the volume of the auscultation if the patient so requests. … But H.B. 2 does not penalize a doctor if the patient requested that the heartbeat sound be turned off or chose not to look at the ultrasound images.”
Some organizations cite a profound impact when mothers see and hear their babies; will Kentucky’s pro-life victory deter most women wanting abortions? Given legislation in New York and comments by Del. Kathy Tran and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam endorsing killing living babies outright, we appear to be headed toward a day when the blatant murder of the defenseless is ingrained into the sociopathic American psyche (here, here, and here). A heartbeat will merely be something to be stopped by any means necessary.
At the moment, perhaps we still have a chance — a few last minutes before the culture goes permanently dark. To prevent that eclipse, it’s going to take a penetrating light. Pray for the sun.
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