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Constitutional Rights and the Public’s Health

EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C. v. Meier


EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C. v. Meier (U.S. Supreme Court denial of certiorari, Dec. 9, 2019): The U.S. Supreme Court denied EMW Women’s Surgical Center’s petition for certiorari, leaving in place Kentucky’s Ultrasound Informed Consent Act, which requires physicians to: (1) show a prospective abortion patient an ultrasound of her fetus; (2) describe the fetus in detail prior to providing an abortion; and (3) make the fetal heartbeat audible for the patient. In 2019, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law against a challenge brought by Kentucky’s only abortion clinic and its 3 doctors. They were supported through amicus curiae briefs from the American Public Health Association American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Civil Liberties Union, among others. The clinic argued that the Act violates the doctors’ First Amendment rights, forcing them to provide unnecessary information, often over the patient’s objections, and interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. The court upheld the Act, finding it to be a legitimate informed consent provision requiring only the disclosure of “truthful, non-misleading, and relevant information about an abortion,” relying heavily on the Supreme Court’s plurality decision in Planned Parenthood v. CaseyRead the Sixth Circuit’s decision hereRead the Supreme Court filings and certiorari denial here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – January 15, 2020.

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