Kentucky Asks Supreme Court to Uphold Law Banning Dismemberment Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 2, 2020   |   8:10PM   |   Frankfort, KY

On Friday Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a petition for a writ of certiorari before the United States Supreme Court asking the court to hear the ACLU’s challenge to Kentucky’s live dismemberment abortion law (House Bill 454).  The law, passed by the General Assembly in 2018, prohibits abortionists from performing gruesome Dilation and Evacuation procedures (D&E) on a living unborn child.

The D&E procedure involves tearing a child apart in the womb while he or she is still alive.  HB 454 requires the abortion provider to cause the unborn child’s death before dismembering them.

“The passage of House Bill 454 by the General Assembly represents Kentucky’s profound respect for the dignity of human life, and I will pursue every means available to make sure this important law is upheld,” said Attorney General Cameron.  “We’ve fought to defend this law since our first day in office, and now, I’m asking our nation’s highest court to consider it.”

Earlier this year, Attorney General Cameron’s team argued this case on behalf of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  In a divided vote, the Sixth Circuit upheld the permanent injunction against the law, and CHFS’ Secretary Eric Friedlander chose not to appeal.

“The Kentucky General Assembly passed this measure at the will of the people with the intent to bring an end to a brutal and heinous practice,” said Speaker of the House David Osborne.  “That was our intent in 2018 and remains our mission today. The very fact that we had to pass legislation to protect an unborn child from being dismembered while alive speaks volumes about how far some will go to denigrate the value of human life. We appreciate the Attorney General’s efforts to have the U.S. Supreme Court move to hear the challenge of HB 454 and look forward to his defense of a measure supported by many Kentuckians across the Commonwealth.”

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“I was proud to be a sponsor of House Bill 454 during the 2018 session, and I commend Attorney General Cameron for doing everything he can to make sure it receives a full defense,” said Senator Matt Castlen.  “Human life is sacred, and we will continue to pass laws that show compassion for the unborn and recognize the value of human life.”

Within two days of learning that CHFS would not appeal, Attorney General Cameron moved to intervene in the case and continue defending the law.  The Sixth Circuit did not allow the Attorney General to intervene.  Five days later [on June 29], the U.S. Supreme Court decided June Medical Services, L.L.C. v. Russo, an important case regarding the states’ ability to regulate abortions.

In his petition, the Attorney General argues that given the ruling in June Medical, the Supreme Court should vacate the Sixth Circuit’s judgment and require the lower court to consider, once again, the constitutionality of House Bill 454.  As well, the Attorney General asks the court to consider whether a state attorney general should be allowed to intervene to defend a state law, after a federal court of appeals invalidates it and no other state official will defend it.

To view a copy of the petition, click here.