KHN Morning Briefing

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Kentucky Ultrasound Law Violates Doctors’ Speech Rights, Opponents Say In Lawsuit

The ACLU and the state's only abortion clinic are taking action to overturn the new law that requires women to undergo an ultrasound and hear a description of the fetus before getting an abortion.

Reuters: ACLU And Kentucky's Only Abortion Clinic Sue Over Ultrasound Law
The American Civil Liberties Union sued Kentucky state officials on Monday to block a new law that requires women seeking an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound and hear a description of the embryo or fetus. ACLU lawyers filed the lawsuit in federal court in Louisville on behalf of EMW Women's Surgical Center, which the lawsuit said is the sole licensed abortion facility in Kentucky. (Bittenbender, 1/9)

CNN: Kentucky Abortion Bill Requires Ultrasound
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on Monday signed two bills that put tighter restrictions on abortion, including one measure prohibiting the procedure at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The bills include an emergency provision, making them effective immediately after Bevin's signature. The first, House Bill 2, now requires a physician or technician to perform an ultrasound, describe and display the ultrasound images to the mother, and provide audio of the fetal heartbeat to the mother before she may have an abortion. The text of the bill says the pregnant woman may choose to avert her eyes from the images, and request the volume of the heartbeat be turned down or off. (Ansari and Croffie, 1/9)

In other news —

WBUR: Mass. Planned Parenthood Estimates Federal Defunding Would Cut $2 Million A Year In Payments 
Republicans on Capitol Hill are once again aiming to defund Planned Parenthood, and Beltway oddsmakers are wagering that they have the best chance of succeeding in a long time. What might defunding mean for Massachusetts, which has five Planned Parenthood clinics? Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, says its clinics could no longer provide services to patients who get their health care through MassHealth, the state's Medicaid program. (Goldberg, 1/9)

St. Louis Public Radio: St. Louis Planned Parenthood Affiliates Brace For Possible Cuts 
Planned Parenthood affiliates in St. Louis are taking stock of the $700,000 hit they may absorb under a new state law and a shifting federal landscape. Last year, the Missouri legislature used a budgetary measure to cut the women’s health provider from the state’s Medicaid program. The process takes several months and requires federal approval, so the rule has yet to take effect. (Bouscaren, 1/10)

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