U.S. Sixth Circuit - The FindLaw 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Kentucky Asks 6th Cir. to Restore Fetal-Heartbeat Abortion Law

Alexa Kolby-Molinas entered the room to discuss abortion.

In Kentucky, women were required to have an ultrasound and then listen to a physician explain the fetal images before an abortion. It was a tense meeting for Kolby-Molinas, and the conversation boiled over into an argument.

But she was not there for an abortion, and it was not a doctor's office. The attorney was arguing before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals against the state's fetal abortion law.

"In Your Face"

In EMW Women's Surgical Center v. Beshear, a trial judge granted a permanent injunction to block the law. The Ultrasound Informed Consent Act was almost stillborn.

The governor signed the bill into law in January last year, and the judge stopped it nine months later. Opposing an appeal, Kolby-Molinas said it should stay that way.

"Informed consent is not designed to reduce patients to sobbing," she said.

Judge Alan Norris said women have a choice. They "could" or "may" view the ultrasound images under the law, he said.

"It does not resemble informed consent," Kolby-Molinas responded. "'I'm gonna shove this in your face right now and you can hide your face in your shirt' -- does not resemble informed consent."

"Truthful, Non-Misleading Disclosures"

Chad Meredith, arguing for the state health services department, told the appeals panel that the law was designed to ensure patients have all relevant information before choosing to have an abortion.

He said the ultrasound and heartbeat procedures are "truthful, non-misleading disclosures." Women already have ultrasounds before abortions, he said, and the disclosures make sure they are "fully aware of what is going on."

Meanwhile, Kentucky lawmakers tried to enforce a ban on most abortions after 11 weeks. A judge has temporarily blocked the law in that case.

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