Supreme Court lets Kentucky law stand in win for unborn babies and pro-life advocates


by Nicole Russell (Credit Washington Examiner) | December 12, 2019

On Dec. 9, the Supreme Court allowed Kentucky’s informed consent law to stand. What sounds like a legal debate over a narrow medical issue had turned into a political firestorm.

The Kentucky law requires abortion providers to perform an ultrasound, showing the patient an image of her unborn baby as the doctor also describes the image. In this case, the justicesrefused to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upholding Kentucky’s controversial law. Pro-life advocates consider this a win for unborn babies, albeit a minor one.

For context, the Supreme Court has previously upheld informed consent laws, yet they will hear the first abortion case in some time in March, regarding a Louisiana law that requires doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

March for Life President Jeanne Mancini applauded the Supreme Court’s decision on mandatory ultrasounds in a statement,saying,“Women facing an unexpected pregnancy deserve to have as much medically and technically accurate information as possible when they are making what could be the most important decision of their life.”

Doctors and pro-abortion groups had challenged the Kentucky law, arguing it violates women’s First Amendment rights. Meanwhile, pro-life advocates believe mandatory ultrasounds are an important tool in helping women make the right decision and don’t violate anyone’s rights.

Catholic Association legal adviser Andrea Picciotti-Bayer responded to the court’s ruling and said: Today the Supreme Court let Kentucky’s informed consent law stand – a move that affirms common sense, transparency, and the democratic process. Rather than keep women in the dark, Kentucky requires all medical professionals, (including abortionists) to disclose vital information related to a woman’s pregnancy and her developing child. Women deserve to know all the facts before making such a consequential decision.

While abortion clinics seek to avoid showing women ultrasounds of their babies because the images often stir up emotions, and sometimes change the mother’s mind altogether, pro-life pregnancy centers often show women their babies in utero to demonstrate that their babies are not just “clumps of cells” as the pro-choice lobby would have them believe. In fact, in their 2018 report on pro-life organizations, the Charlotte Lozier Institute estimated pregnancy centers served 2 million people, and 70% of those locations offer free ultrasounds to pregnant women.

In May, the socially conservative nonprofit organization Focus on the Family held a live ultrasound event in Times Square, showing a 3D image of Abby Johnson’s unborn baby. Johnson is a former Planned Parenthood director and inspired the film Unplanned, which chronicles her journey from working at Planned Parenthood to becoming a pro-life leader.

Focus on the Family told me through a representative that: Planned Parenthood’s and other pro-abortion zealots apoplectic response to the Supreme court’s decision allowing Kentucky’s ultrasound law to go into effect reveals the Left’s greatest fear: They’re afraid women who see their baby are more likely to carry him or her to term — a fact that financially impacts their grisly empire. We’re grateful the law will now go forward and pray it will lead to a greater empowerment of both mothers and their children.

As a mother and advocate of pro-life policies, I’m glad to see the Supreme Court allowed this law to stand, not least because viewing ultrasound images of an unborn baby often doeschange a pregnant woman’s mind and prompt her to choose life. But just as importantly, there’s nothing unconstitutional about this law — so there was no reason for the justices to hear this case.

Nicole Russell (@russell_nm) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota.