Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds State Abortion Ban

Kentucky Supreme Court Upholds State Abortion Ban
Abortion rights advocates in the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., demonstrate in April against a bill adopted by lawmakers to place on November’s ballot a proposed amendment that declares there is no right to abortion in the state’s constitution, one of at least six abortion-related ballot measures that will go before voters in 2022. (AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner)
Savannah Hulsey Pointer

Kentucky maintained its near-total abortion ban after the state’s highest court ruled in favor of a challenge to an injunction against the law on Feb. 16.

The case before the Kentucky Supreme Court challenged the state’s ban on almost all abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy. The court was faced with a narrow legal issue appealed in the wake of the 2022 Supreme Court case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which withdrew the federal protection for abortion, after which Kentucky’s “trigger law” banning most abortions took effect.

Justice Debra Lambert said in her judgment that Louisville Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry was incorrect to suspend enforcement of abortion restrictions in July 2022 and that the appeals court was right to reinstate the bans in August 2022. However, she left open the possibility of hearing a future challenge on whether the right to abortion exists by implication under the Kentucky Constitution.

Lambert ruled on Feb. 16 that the clinics lack standing to challenge the regulations on behalf of their patients, but they could have standing to claim that the state’s abortion limits violate constitutional rights.

“To be clear, this opinion does not in any way determine whether the Kentucky Constitution protects or does not protect the right to receive an abortion, as no appropriate party to raise that issue is before us,” Lambert said in her opinion. “Nothing in this opinion shall be construed to prevent an appropriate party from filing suit at a later date.”
Planned Parenthood responded to The Epoch Times’ request for comment by referring to a statement by leaders from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the ACLU of Kentucky following the ruling.

“Once again, the Kentucky Supreme Court failed to protect the health and safety of nearly a million people in the state by refusing to reinstate the lower court order blocking the law,” the appellees said in their response to the ruling.

“We are extremely disappointed in today’s decision, but we will never give up the fight to restore bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom in Kentucky.”

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who represented the state in the case, said in his statement that the ruling was a “significant victory” and that his office would “continue to stand up for the unborn by defending these laws.”

“Since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade last June, we have vigorously defended Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act and Heartbeat Law,” Cameron said. “We are very pleased that Kentucky’s high court has allowed these laws to remain in effect while the case proceeds in circuit court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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