Supreme Court Says It's Fine to Force Kentucky Abortion-Seekers to Listen to Fetal Heartbeat Sounds

Illustration for article titled Supreme Court Says Its Fine to Force Kentucky Abortion-Seekers to Listen to Fetal Heartbeat Sounds
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On Monday, the Supreme Court—without comment or noted dissent—rejected a challenge to Kentucky’s abortion law, which requires doctors to describe ultrasound images and play fetal heartbeat sounds to all abortion seekers.

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Challengers, which included a Kentucky abortion clinic, argued that the law violates doctors’ First Amendment rights in order to require abortion-seekers to interact with ultrasounds regardless of their desire to do so. The law was previously been upheld by the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals, but the ruling has been “on hold pending the Supreme Court appeal,” according to CNN.

Of course, all the Kentucky shitbags who care more about the rights of cell clumps than those of living people say that by completely disregarding patients’ autonomy, the law actually empowers abortion-seekers to consent to the abortions they’ve already asked for:

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From CNN:

“Kentucky argued the law is ‘simple and straightforward,’ calling it part of ‘an informed-consent process.’ 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 ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project said the Supreme Court’s refusal to review the ruling “rubber-stamped extreme political interference in the doctor-patient relationship.” But CNN’s Supreme Court analyst Steve Vladeck says that the decision could be a result of the fact the plaintiffs’ challenge focused on violation of doctors’ First Amendment Rights and not the patient’s right to have an abortion without an unasked for story hour from their physician.

The 6th Circuit court seemed to agree in its ruling, which stated, “As a First Amendment matter, there is nothing suspect with a State’s requiring a doctor, before performing an abortion, to make truthful, non-misleading factual disclosures, relevant to informed consent, even if those disclosures relate to unborn life and have the effect of persuading the patient not to have an abortion.”

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The court’s refusal to hear the challenge to Kentucky law doesn’t bode well for an upcoming case involving a Louisiana law requiring doctors to obtain admitting privileges from nearby hospitals, which the court is set to hear later this term.

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DISCUSSION

Let me start by saying that I’m not a lawyer, so I welcome input/correction from anyone who is.

I agree with Steve Vladeck’s take, that this decision may have to do with the challenge being focused on a violation of doctors’ First Amendment Rights. If Doctors’ First Amendment rights in the performance of their duties were upheld, this could backfire rather badly should the doctor be someone who didn’t believe in blood transfusions, for example. I’m actually puzzled that this was the argument chosen to challenge the law.

Thoughts?