Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Kentucky Enacts New Abortion Restrictions; Suit Filed Challenging Required Disclosures

In Kentucky yesterday, Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law H.B. 2 (full text), which, as described by CNN:
requires a physician or technician to perform an ultrasound, describe and display the ultrasound images to the mother, and provide audio of the fetal heartbeat to the mother before she may have an abortion. The text of the bill says the pregnant woman may choose to avert her eyes from the images, and request the volume of the heartbeat be turned down or off.
The law frames required disclosures in terms of providing information about the "unborn child."

The state's sole licensed abortion provider and three physicians immediately filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the law.  The complaint (full text) in EMW Women's Surgical Center, P.S.C. v. Beshear (WD KY, filed 1/9/2017), contends that the law violates rights of both physicians and patients. An ACLU press release announced the filing of the lawsuit.

The Governor also signed S.B. 5 which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with limited exceptions. Both H.B. 2 and S.B. 5 took effect immediately on signing. [Thanks to Tom Rutledge and Scott Mange for the leads.]