LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The ACLU, representing Kentucky's only abortion provider, the EMW clinic, argued Thursday in federal court in Louisville that House Bill 2 is unconstitutional because it violates a doctor's free speech rights.

HB 2, which became law in January, requires doctors to perform ultrasounds and describe what they see to the patient before performing an abortion.

During a more than six-hour hearing, the ACLU argued the law is also unethical because it forces information on a patient who may not want it.

"We had an expert, a highly credentialed ethicist, a highly experienced OB/GYN, and the evidence that they presented today made just abundantly clear that HB 2 is a gross deviation from medical ethics, from the standard of consent and from the standard of care," said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, an ACLU attorney.

The state, on the other hand, said it has a substantial interest in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the unborn child.

"Our legislature over the years has reaffirmed that Kentucky does have an interest in its informed consent laws, not only in protecting the mother, but as part of the informed consent hopefully protecting the unborn," said Steve Pitt, general counsel for Gov. Matt Bevin, who represented the state.

Pitt argued that the courts have previously affirmed the right of states to regulate the conduct of medical professionals. 

Representatives from Attorney General Andy Beshear's office also attended the hearing, but were not called upon to provide evidence or testimony.

The law is considered a historic pro-life measure.

"It's important women have all the information relevant to the abortion decision," said Michael Janocik of Kentucky Right to Life. "We feel the more women know about abortion, the less likely they are to choose it.

Pro-choice advocates call the bill "harmful."

"It begins by assuming the ignorance of women who choose to get an abortion, and then shames them once they do make that choice," said Marcie Crim, Executive Director of Kentucky Health Justice Network.

Judge David Hale must now decide whether to issue a temporary restraining order, putting the law on hold while the case continues.

There's no word on when he might rule.

Related Stories:

Kentucky House and Senate pass 2 pro-life bills with overwhelming margins

Kentucky Senate passes House Bill 2 concerning ultrasounds for women considering abortions

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