Abortions can resume in KY after judge temporarily blocks ban

June 30, 2022 | 2:34 pm

Updated June 30, 2022 | 2:34 pm

Graphic by Owensboro Times

A judge in Kentucky has temporarily blocked the state’s abortion ban that went into effect last week after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Judges in four other states — Florida, Texas, Utah and Louisiana — have issued rulings temporarily halting laws banning or limiting abortions.

Kentucky previously enacted a “trigger law” to effectively ban all abortions upon the Supreme Court issuing a ruling that puts the decision of abortion into the hands of each state. That trigger law is on hold after the restraining order issued by Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry.

Kentucky has two providers that offer abortion services — Planned Parenthood and EMW Women’s Surgical Center, both in Louisville. They immediately suspended services following the Supreme Court ruling but can now resume.

According to the Associated Press, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky said nearly 200 women with scheduled appointments have been turned away from EMW Women’s Surgical Center since the Supreme Court ruling.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood released a joint statement after the Thursday ruling.

“We’re glad the court recognized the devastation happening in Kentucky and decided to block the commonwealth’s cruel abortion bans,” the statement reads. “Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe last Friday, numerous Kentuckians have been forced to carry pregnancies against their will or flee their home state in search of essential care. … We won’t stop fighting for people’s ability to access the essential abortion care they need in Kentucky. The government should never have the authority to force a person to remain pregnant against their will.”

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is running for governor, issued a statement saying he will be seeking relief from the restraining order.

“The U.S. Supreme Court made it abundantly clear in Dobbs that decisions about the protection of life should be decided by the states and the people through their representatives,” he said. “Our General Assembly clearly expressed Kentucky’s support for life by passing the Human Life Protection Act with bipartisan support. We will do everything possible to continue defending this law and to ensure that unborn life is protected in the Commonwealth.” 

Under 2019’s KY House Bill 148 (the trigger law currently on hold), anybody who performs an abortion or administers medication to terminate a pregnancy is guilty of a class D felony, which is punishable by as many as five years in prison. However, it states that no criminal penalties will be imposed on a pregnant woman.

The law includes an exception that allows a “to prevent the death or substantial risk of death due to a physical condition, or to prevent the serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman.” It does not include exceptions for those seeking an abortion after rape or incest. 

Perry also agreed to temporarily block Kentucky’s six-week ban on abortion, a measure that was previously halted by a federal court.

A hearing on the organizations’ request for a temporary injunction to block the laws during litigation has been scheduled for July 6.

June 30, 2022 | 2:34 pm

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