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Most abortions still illegal after Ky. Supreme Court denies request for relief

Breya Jones

The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday denied a request for emergency relief to block the state’s abortion bans from going into effect.

But justices will hear arguments over the case and ultimately decide whether abortion should remain illegal in Kentucky. Oral arguments are scheduled for Nov. 15.

The state’s two abortion providers had asked the high court to reverse an appeals court ruling that made almost all abortions illegal.

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union issued a joint statement saying the ruling puts people’s health care in jeopardy.

“Abortion is not only health care but also a critical individual freedom. Make no mistake: abortion bans result in tragic health outcomes and are a form of control over our bodies. Despite this setback, the fight continues. We will proceed with our case to restore and protect reproductive freedom in Kentucky. Politicians and the government should never have the authority to force a person to remain pregnant against their will,” leaders of the organizations said.

Earlier this month, the state appeals court lifted an injunction on the state’s “trigger law” and a separate six-week abortion ban at the request of Attorney General Daniel Cameron. The “trigger law” outlaws abortion in all but life-threatening cases.

Cameron, a Republican running for governor, defended the bans in a tweet following the Aug. 2 decision.

“The values of the Commonwealth are clear when it comes to the unborn. We stand for life, and the Human Life Protection Act and the Heartbeat Law reflect this commitment,” Cameron wrote. “The Court of Appeals decision [Monday] ensures that these important laws remain in effect, and I will continue to advocate for our shared values by defending these laws.”

The abortion ban took effect June 24 after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. After the ACLU and Planned Parenthood challenged the laws, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry granted a temporary restraining order blocking the bans. Perry further blocked them by issuing an injunction.

Kentuckians will vote this November on an amendment to the state constitution seeking to clarify there is no right to abortion access. Primary voters rejected a similar amendment in Kansas in their primary election earlier this month.

Indiana legislators passed their own near-total abortion ban, which Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed. It goes into effect Sept. 15.

Rebecca Feldhaus Adams contributed to this report.

Michael J. Collins
Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives for Kentucky Public Radio, a group of public radio stations including WKMS, WFPL in Louisville, WEKU in Richmond and WKYU in Bowling Green. A native of Lexington, Ryland most recently served as the Capitol Reporter for Kentucky Public Radio. He has covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin.
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