Federal Court Hearing on Kentucky’s Ultrasound Bill

On March 23, 2017, I had the privilege of attending the court hearing on House Bill, 2, commonly known as the ultrasound bill. House Bill 2 gives a pregnant mother the opportunity to view an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat of her unborn child prior to having an abortion. The hope is that if a mother sees the image and hears the heartbeat, she will determine to let her child live. The hearing began at 9:30 in the morning in the Federal District Court in Louisville, Kentucky and lasted until approximately 3:30 that afternoon.

As I drove to Louisville, and entered the Federal Courthouse, I was struck by the import of what would take place on that day. The fact that innocent lives literally hang in the balance was not lost upon me. I was required to go through two different security checkpoints. One as I entered the building and then one as I entered the area where the hearing would be held.

As I entered the courtroom, where Judge David Hale, would preside over the hearing that day, my mind went back to the times that I appeared in Federal Court. My practice was mainly in the State Courts, but I will say that there is something particularly stately and yet imposing about the federal courts.

The arguments began shortly after 9:30, with Steve Pitt, representing the Governor, and the Health and Family Services Cabinet, Travis Mayo from the Attorney General’s Office representing the Board of Medical Licensure, and three attorneys from the ACLU’s offices in New York City representing, EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

At the risk of greatly oversimplifying things, the issue to be decided in this case really boils down to this. Do the requirements of House Bill 2, compel the EMW Surgical Center and their doctors to violate their First Amendment, Free Speech Rights under the Constitution by requiring them to provide the ultrasound image and fetal heartbeat information to the expectant mother, or do these requirements further what the United States Supreme Court has called, a government’s “legitimate and substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life?”

The Federal appeals courts have come to differing conclusions based on similar legislation in other states.

I would ask you to make the decision a matter of prayer. Ask that God’s will would be done in this case. Pray that unborn lives would be protected. Pray that the Lord would give Judge Hale wisdom as he rules on this important issue.

If you have any questions about this case, I would be honored to speak with you about it. You can call me at (502) 330-5024, or e-mail me at [email protected]. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your legislative agent.

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