Supreme Court lets abortion ultrasound law stand

09 Décembre, 2019, 20:29 | Auteur: Yves Courtet

Later this term, the justices are set to consider a separate Louisiana law that requires doctors to obtain admitting privileges from a nearby hospital.

In 2015, the Supreme Court rejected a bid by North Carolina to revive a similar law that had been struck down.

The Louisiana case will test the willingness of the court, which includes two conservative justices appointed by Republican President Donald Trump, to uphold laws that lower courts have ruled unconstitutional.

A majority of states require ultrasounds before abortions, but a smaller number has varying requirements about what must be offered to the woman.

The plaintiffs-an abortion clinic and its operators in Louisville-sought to strike down a Kentucky law which requires doctors to display and describe an ultrasound of the child to his or her mother before conducting an abortion.

A federal judge in 2017 struck down the law but in an April 2019 ruling the Cincinnati-based 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals declared it lawful.

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The Supreme Court had previously upheld "informed consent" laws for women seeking abortions. Women can avert their eyes and cover their ears to avoid hearing the description or the fetal heartbeat.

Without the requirement, there is no reason to believe that abortion providers "do anything to dispel the mistaken beliefs of women who. are under the impression that their fetuses are simply masses of inanimate tissue rather than living beings that are assuming the human form", Kentucky wrote in its brief.

But since those decisions, the Court has swung to the right, and the choice not to take up EMW may signal that its liberal wing is concerned that taking abortion cases will lead to a rolling back of rulings like Hellerstedt.

But the 6th Circuit said that was before a 2018 decision by the Supreme Court involving pregnancy crisis centers in California. The ACLU argued that "display and describe" ultrasound laws violate physicians' speech rights under the First Amendment. The law, Kentucky said, "does nothing more than require that women who are considering an abortion be provided with information that is truthful, non-misleading and relevant to their decision of whether to have an abortion".

"The Supreme Court has rubber-stamped extreme political interference in the doctor-patient relationship", said attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas with the ACLU, which helped bring the challenge to Kentucky's law. "This law is not only unconstitutional, but as leading medical experts and ethicists explained, deeply unethical".

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