Federal Judge Blocks Kentucky Law That Made the State Abortion-Free

A federal judge has temporarily halted a new Kentucky law that blocked the state’s last two remaining abortion clinics from performing the procedure.

Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings, a Donald Trump appointee, of U.S. District Court of the Western District of Kentucky, Louisville Division, ruled Thursday in favor of Planned Parenthood and other abortion rights groups by issuing a temporary restraining order that blocks Kentucky officials from enforcing its new law that would block the state’s only two abortion clinics from performing the procedure.

“Because plaintiff cannot comply with HB 3 and thus cannot legally perform abortion services, its patients face a substantial obstacle to exercising their rights to a pre-viability abortion,” the judge wrote, but added she was not evaluating “the constitutionality of the substance of the requirements in HB 3, but merely the enforceability of the provisions based on the impossibility of compliance.”

The law, HB 3, made Kentucky the first state in the nation to be abortion-free since the U.S. Supreme Court created a right to abortion in 1973 in the case of Roe v. Wade.

The Kentucky legislature passed the bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks, require abortionists to issue certificates for fetal deaths or stillbirths following performing abortions, and to dispose of the bodies of unborn babies as human remains rather than medical waste.

The state’s two abortion clinics claimed they could not comply with the law’s restrictions.

Gov. Andy Beshear (D) vetoed the bill on April 8, but Republican lawmakers ultimately overrode the veto.

Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, said in a statement that referred to abortion as “care”:

We’re grateful for the temporary restraining order (TRO) restricting this egregious abortion ban from continuing to block a constitutionally protected right to basic care. This is a win, but it is only the first step. We’re prepared to fight for our patients’ right to basic health in court and to continue doing everything in our power in ensure abortion access is permanently secured in Kentucky.

However, in an op-ed at National Review on April 12, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron asserted Roe v. Wade “should be returned to the states.”

The attorney general stated the technological advances since 1973 have enabled parents to see and experience their unborn child growing in utero throughout the pregnancy, and “confirms what we instinctively know to be true: that there are two lives at issue in every abortion.”

In advance of the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of the Mississippi law at issue in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Cameron wrote, “Our federal Constitution as written and originally understood includes no right to an abortion.”

“This issue belonged to the states before Roe, and it should belong to the states again.,” he stated.

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

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