Kentucky Bill Requiring Written Description of Ultrasound Images Prior to Abortion (HB 103)
This law was last updated on Sep 6, 2018
HB 103 would require a physician to perform an obstetric ultrasound on a pregnant person prior to the patient giving informed consent for an abortion, except in the case of a medical emergency.
The physician would be required to display the ultrasound images so that the patient may view the images. The physician would also be required to utilize an ultrasound transducer or a fetal heart rate monitor in order for the patient to hear the heartbeat, if audible.
The bill would require a physician to provide a written medical description of the required ultrasound imaging prior to a pregnant person giving informed consent to the performance of an abortion.
Previous Kentucky law required a pregnant person to undergo a mandatory ultrasound procedure—including a “speech-and-display requirement” that requires the physician to place the ultrasound images in the patient’s view and read a state-mandated script about the images even if the patient does not want to see the images or hear the description.
This requirement became law during the 2017 legislative session and was immediately challenged in court (see EMW Women’s Surgical Center v. Beshear). The law was ultimately ruled unconstitutional and blocked.
This bill would remove the unlawful “speech-and-display requirement” and instead require the physician to provide a written medical description of the ultrasound images. The written description must include the following:
- A statement that the ultrasound images depict the images of a live human being;
- The location of each fetus within the uterus;
- The number of fetuses depicted;
- The dimensions of each fetus;
- The presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable; and
- If the ultrasound images indicate that fetal demise has occurred, a statement informing the pregnant person of that fact.
The bill declares this issue an emergency, which means the bill would take effect immediately upon passage and approval of the Governor.
Similar to HB 2, which became law in 2017, but was ultimately ruled unconstitutional and blocked.