U.S. Courts

A federal appeals court heard arguments on Wednesday over Kentucky’s ultrasound abortion requirement, which was blocked by a lower court last fall.

The law requires doctors to show and describe images of the fetal ultrasound to a patient before conducting an abortion, as well as play audio of the fetal heartbeat.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is challenging the law on behalf of Kentucky’s lone abortion facility, argues that it violates free speech rights by requiring doctors to describe the ultrasound even if patients demand that they not.

Ryland Barton

On Wednesday, a federal appeals court will hear arguments over a Kentucky law requiring doctors to show and describe a fetal ultrasound to patients before conducting an abortion.

The law also requires doctors to play audio of the fetal heartbeat, even if patients object.

The measure was struck down by a lower court last fall, citing concerns over the psychological harm it could cause. But Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration appealed the decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

With the balance of the Supreme Court in question, some abortion-rights advocates are quietly preparing for a future they hope never to see — one without the protections of Roe v. Wade.

Kentucky's newest abortion law seeks to prevent a "barbaric" procedure while a fetus is alive in the womb, Gov. Matt Bevin's legal team said in urging a federal judge to reject efforts to prolong delaying the restrictions.

The Republican governor's lawyers filed a court brief this week urging the judge to deny a request for a preliminary injunction that would further delay the law's enforcement.

The law, passed by Kentucky legislators and enacted by the governor earlier this year, is aimed at a common second-trimester abortion procedure known as "dilation and evacuation." The restrictions are being challenged by the state's last abortion clinic in a lawsuit filed last month by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Planned Parenthood Sues Indiana Over New Abortion Rules

Apr 24, 2018

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky is suing Indiana officials over a new law that will require medical providers who treat women for complications arising from abortions to report detailed patient information to the state.

The federal lawsuit filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on Planned Parenthood’s behalf contends the reporting rules and a provision requiring annual inspections of abortion clinics are unconstitutional.

Lisa Gillespie

A federal judge in Kentucky has temporarily stalled the enforcement of a new abortion law being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The legislation signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin bans a common second trimester abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation.” The procedure was used in 537 of 3,312 abortions done in Kentucky in 2016, according to state statistics. During legislative debates, the bill’s supporters called the procedure “gruesome.”


The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit to block a new Kentucky law putting more restrictions on abortions.

The ACLU filed the suit late Tuesday, shortly after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed the measure, which took effect immediately.

J. Tyler Franklin

A bill that would prohibit a common abortion procedure after the 11th week of pregnancy is nearing final passage from the Republican-led state legislature.

House Bill 454 would ban dilation and evacuation abortions after the 11th week of pregnancy except in medical emergencies. The procedure involves dilating the cervix and removing the fetus using surgical tools and suction.

The Kentucky House Judiciary committee has approved a bill banning a certain type of abortion procedure after about 11 weeks. The measure now goes on to the full House for a vote.


The procedure some lawmakers want to prohibit is called dilation and evacuation. It involves removing the fetus using suction and surgical tools which some lawmakers say is brutal. The Courier Journal reports the legislation would ban abortions that result in the bodily dismemberment or crushing of a fetus that is 11 weeks old or more, except in medical emergencies. Republican senator Addia Wuchner of Florence supports the bill.

Mary Meehan

A small gaggle of reporters points their microphones at reproductive rights activist Marcie Crim as she bluntly decries  the shrinking access to abortion in the region. Crim stands just a few feet from the open door of the office of Governor Matt Bevin near the Capitol rotunda.

Crim and Bevin may be physically close in this situation, but they could not be further apart on the issue. They personify the opposing poles of the decades-old debate surrounding abortion.

Kentucky's Abortion Law Struck Down by Federal Court

Sep 28, 2017
Creative Commons

Kentucky's law requiring doctors to conduct an ultrasound exam before an abortion and then try to show fetal images as well as play the fetal heartbeat to the pregnant woman has been struck down by a federal court.

Judge David J. Hale said in the one-page ruling Wednesday night that the law violates the First Amendment rights of physicians.

The ACLU said in a statement that the court recognized that the law "appears to inflict psychological harm on abortion patients," and causes them to "experience distress as a result."

Lisa Gillespie

Testimony has ended in a federal trial that could decide whether Kentucky becomes the nation's first state without an abortion facility. The three-day trial ended today in federal court in Louisville. Attorneys will have 60 days to present post-trial briefs to U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers, who heard the case without a jury.


The case revolves around a licensing fight between the state and E-M-W Women's Surgical Center in Louisville.

Lawyers for Kentucky’s only abortion clinic and Planned Parenthood on Thursday grilled a state official during the second day of a licensing battle taking place in federal court.

Robert Silverthorn, the inspector general for Kentucky’s health cabinet, defended the state’s aggressive enforcement of transfer agreements — contracts that abortion providers are required to make with a hospital and ambulance service.

Silverthorn said that the agreements ensure that emergency responders and hospitals are acquainted with an abortion clinic’s features.

Lisa Gillespie

Lawyers representing Kentucky’s only abortion provider squared off against Gov. Matt Bevin’s legal team in federal court Wednesday amid a licensing battle that will determine if the state becomes the first in the nation without an abortion provider.

Bevin’s lawyer told a federal court that if EMW Women’s Surgical Center is shut down, abortion seekers could go to surrounding states to get the procedure.

Kentucky is down to only one clinic that performs abortions: the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville. A trial kicking off Wednesday morning in federal court in Louisville will decide whether Kentucky will become the only state without a single such clinic.