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Judge upholds blocks to enforcement of Ky. trigger ban, 6-week ban on abortion

Ryan Van Velzer

A Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge has granted a temporary injunction further blocking enforcement of two of Kentucky’s most restrictive abortion laws. 

Judge Mitch Perry’s injunction extends a restraining order he granted last month.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed the case in state court in late June, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade. The ruling set in motion the state’s trigger law, which bans abortion in all but life-threatening cases. The plaintiffs challenged both the trigger ban and a six-week ban. 

Kentucky’s two abortion providers, Planned Parenthood and EMW Women’s Surgical Center, halted care for a week following the June 24 Supreme Court ruling. They resumed after Perry issued his original restraining order. 

Judge Perry’s ruling Friday came two weeks after he heard from four witnesses during a hearing and days after the deadline for parties to file additional information in the case.

Plaintiffs have argued that abortions are safe and necessary health care that are protected under the state’s constitution, citing right to privacy. They also say restrictions will mean patients have to either travel out of state or be forced to carry pregnancies to term, which could lead to negative health and life outcomes. 

This is, in part, why the injunction was granted. Perry stated in his order Friday that there is a “substantial likelihood that these laws violate the rights to privacy and self-determination” under the state constitution.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron has argued there is no such protection in the constitution, which doesn’t explicitly mention abortion. 

Following the judge’s temporary block in late June, Cameron unsuccessfully petitioned the Kentucky Court of Appeals and state supreme court to enforce the laws.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association and the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine also filed an amicus brief Monday on behalf of abortion providers.

It states that abortion is “an essential part of comprehensive health care” and that “when abortion is legal, it is safe.” 

The brief continues that laws that criminalize abortion “are not based in medical or scientific rationale” and that they threaten patients’ health and safety, interfere with doctor-patient relationships and disproportionately affect marginalized populations. 

Judge Perry said earlier this month amicus briefs would likely not have a bearing on decisions at this stage of the case. 

Copyright 2022 89.3 WFPL News Louisville. To see more, visit 89.3 WFPL News Louisville.

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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