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US Supreme Court leaves in place Kentucky abortion restriction

18:48  09 december  2019
18:48  09 december  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday sidestepped part of a major abortion case But the court upheld part of the same law requiring abortion providers to bury or cremate fetal remains. The modest move on Tuesday left for another day the consideration of state laws limiting abortion

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WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Kentucky restriction requiring doctors to show and describe ultrasound images to women seeking an abortion, turning away a challenge arguing that the measure violates the free speech rights of physicians.

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 19, 2017 file photo, abortion opponents with the group Operation Save America gather during a rally in downtown Louisville, Ky. On July 21, 2017, a federal judge established a buffer zone outside the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville to keep anti-abortion protesters from assembling in front of the entrance, after at least 10 protesters were arrested for blocking it earlier in the month. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan)© ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE - In this Wednesday, July 19, 2017 file photo, abortion opponents with the group Operation Save America gather during a rally in downtown Louisville, Ky. On July 21, 2017, a federal judge established a buffer zone outside the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville to keep anti-abortion protesters from assembling in front of the entrance, after at least 10 protesters were arrested for blocking it earlier in the month. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan)

The justices declined without comment to hear an appeal by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of a lower court ruling that upheld the law after a federal judge previously had struck it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

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The Supreme Court has overturned a Texas law requiring clinics that provide abortions to have surgical facilities and doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law was predicted to close many clinics and further reduce availability of abortion in Texas; the court has ruled the law

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The Supreme Court has a 5-4 conservative majority and is closely divided on abortion rights.

On March 4, the court is scheduled to hear its first major abortion case in three years in a dispute over the legality of a Republican-backed Louisiana law that imposes restrictions on abortion doctors.

The ACLU said the Kentucky law has no medical basis and that its sole purpose is to coerce a woman into not getting an abortion.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of EMW Women's Surgical Center, Kentucky's only licensed abortion clinic, as well as physicians who work there shortly after the law was passed in 2017.

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Kentucky requires a physician or qualified technician to perform the ultrasound and position the screen so the woman can view the images of the fetus. The medical staff are required to describe what the images show, including the size of the fetus and any organs or appendages visible. They are also required to make audible the sound of the fetal heartbeat.

The law requires the physicians to continue with the process even if the patient objects and shows signs of distress. Doctors can be fined and referred to the state's medical licensing board if they fail to comply with the Kentucky law.

On the Louisiana law case next year, the high court's ruling could lead to new curbs on access to abortion. Numerous Republican-backed measures restricting abortion have been passed at the state level in recent years.

The Louisiana case will test the willingness of the court, which includes two conservative justices appointed by Republican President Donald Trump, to uphold laws that lower courts have ruled unconstitutional. The court has shifted to the right after Justice Anthony Kennedy, a decisive vote in favor of abortion rights, retired in 2018 and was replaced by Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh, who has a thin judicial record on the issue.

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court delivered its most significant ruling on abortion in a generation Monday, striking down restrictions on Texas clinics and doctors Without Scalia, that meant at least a tie -- but a tie, while setting no national precedent, would have left the appeals court decision in place .

The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Tuesday to hear a challenge to an Arkansas abortion law that, in practice, bars abortions by pill instead of by surgical procedure. The Supreme Court 's decision not to intervene in the case at this point, however, is not final. Abortion -rights advocates had trumpeted

In 2018, the Supreme Court blocked a California law requiring clinics that counsel women against abortion to notify clients of the availability of abortions paid for by the state, finding that it violated the free speech rights of the facilities. In that 5-4 ruling along ideological grounds, the court's conservative justices were in the majority.

A federal judge in 2017 struck down the law but in an April 2019 ruling the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared it lawful. The 6th Circuit found that because the law "requires the disclosure of truthful, non-misleading and relevant information about an abortion, we hold that it does not violate a doctor's right to free speech under the First Amendment."

In 2015, the Supreme Court rejected a bid by North Carolina to revive a similar law that had been struck down. A similar law in Texas was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2012.

Court strikes down Mississippi 15-week abortion ban .
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban on Friday, the latest legal blow to an effort by a conservative-leaning state looking to restrict abortion. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); None of the bans passed by Mississippi and eight other states this year restricting abortion past a certain point in pregnancy have gone into effect, with most of them having been blocked by federal judges.

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