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Ky. attorney general challenges recent block on anti-abortion bills

Kate Howard

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is challenging a recent circuit court judge’s decision to block two near-total abortion bans in the state. 

The filing with the Kentucky Court of Appeals comes almost a week after Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry granted a temporary injunction, blocking enforcement of the two laws for the duration of the state case. 

One is a trigger law the state legislature enacted in 2019, which bans abortion in all but life-threatening case. It went into effect on June 24 when the United States Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

The ACLU, on behalf of EMW Women’s Surgical Center, and Planned Parenthood, on behalf of its Louisville clinic, challenged the trigger ban in state court soon after the federal decision. They argued abortion is protected under right to privacy in Kentucky’s constitution. The lawsuit also takes aim at a six-week ban passed in 2019, which until recently was blocked in federal court. 

Judge Perry granted a restraining order days after the trigger ban went into effect, and abortions—which had been halted for a week—resumed in the state. They’re currently available up to 15 weeks of pregnancy. 

The attorney general unsuccessfully challenged that order with the state’s appellate and supreme courts 

In his most recent filing Thursday, Cameron argued abortion is not protected under the state constitution, and said the decision should not come down to a single judge. 

“We will soon find out if Kentucky courts will adhere to the text and original meaning of our state Constitution, or if they are intent on repeating the mistake of the failed Roe v. Wade decision,” Cameron said in a statement. “I urge our appellate courts to reject the abortion facilities’ baseless argument that our constitution contains a previously unrecognized right to an abortion.”

He said allowing the block to remain in place would “draw our courts into a contentious policy debate that has already been decided by the people through their elected representatives in the General Assembly.”

Cameron said in the statement he also asked that the case be transferred to the state supreme court “for immediate resolution.”

A measure on the ballot this November would formally exclude abortion rights from Kentucky’s constitution.

Aprile is WFPL's health reporter. Rickert comes to WFPL from the News and Tribune in Southern Indiana, where she covered crime and courts as a senior reporter. A New Albany native, she spent nearly two decades in Louisville before recently moving back across the river to Jeffersonville.
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