Kentucky Judge Blocks Abortion Ban That Saves Babies, AG Expected to Appeal

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 22, 2022   |   1:37PM   |   Frankfort, Kentucky

A Kentucky judge has issued an injunction against the state’s abortion ban that went into effect following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Hours after the Dobbs decision, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced an advisory opinion indicating that the Kentucky Human Life Protecting Act, which bans abortions statewide, is now in effect.

Kentucky enacted the Human Life Protection Act, now codified at KRS
311.772, in March 2019. The Kentucky General Assembly passed the law by a
bipartisan vote in both chambers. The Act prohibits abortion in most circumstances.
Generally speaking, it states that no person may knowingly cause or aid in “the
termination of the life of an unborn human being.” KRS 311.772(3). Performing a
prohibited abortion is a Class D felony, but pregnant mothers who receive an abortion
are not subject to any criminal liability. KRS 311.772(3)(b), (5)

The prohibition on performing abortions in KRS 311.772 became effective on
June 24, 2022, the date on which the Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs.

But Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the pro-life law under the state constitution and requested a retaining order against it while the lawsuit proceeds. That was granted today by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Mitch Perry.

Today, Perry issued an injunction against the law — but Cameron is expected to appeal.

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In his ruling, Perry said lawyers for Kentucky’s abortion providers challenging the law raised “substantial questions” about the laws that merit resolution.

Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and EMW filed a lawsuit in state court June 28 arguing the state’s constitution allows a right to abortion as a matter of privacy, a strategy abortion rights supporters have pursued in multiple states with laws that have banned or sharply limited abortion access following the Roe decision.

Cameron criticized the earlier decision, saying the state would be challenging the decision.

“In the wake of an historic victory for life at the nation’s highest court, today, one judge in Kentucky has, without basis in the Kentucky Constitution, allowed two clinics to resume abortions. We cannot let the same mistake that happened in Roe v. Wade, nearly 50 years ago, to be made again in Kentucky. We will be seeking relief from this order,” he said in a statement.

“The U.S. Supreme Court made it abundantly clear in Dobbs that decisions about the protection of life should be decided by the states and the people through their representatives. Our General Assembly clearly expressed Kentucky’s support for life by passing the Human Life Protection Act with bipartisan support.  We will do everything possible to continue defending this law and to ensure that unborn life is protected in the Commonwealth,” he added.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, Attorney General Cameron has taken action to ensure Kentucky’s pro-life laws take effect, after many were tied up in court for years.  He has asked courts to allow the Commonwealth’s heartbeat law (SB 9, 2019); prohibition of discriminatory abortions (HB 5, 2019); prohibition of live dismemberment abortions (HB 454, 2018); and the Humanity in Healthcare Bill (HB 3, 2022) to take effect.

The Human Life Protection Act prohibits abortions in the Commonwealth unless necessary to protect the life of the mother. 

As LifeNews reported, the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, with a 6-3 majority ruling in the Dobbs case that “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” — allowing states to ban abortions and protect unborn babies. The high court also ruled 6-3 uphold the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban so states can further limit abortions and to get rid of the false viability standard.

Chief Justice John Roberts technically voted for the judgment but, in his concurring opinion, disagreed with the reasoning and said he wanted to keep abortions legal but with a new standard.

Texas and Oklahoma had banned abortions before Roe was overturned and Missouri became the first state after Roe to protect babies from abortions and South Dakota became the 2nd. Then Arkansas became the third state protecting babies from abortions and Kentucky became the 4th and Louisiana became the 5th and Ohio became the 6th and Utah became the 7th and Oklahoma became the 8th and Alabama became the 9th. This week, Mississippi became the 10th and South Carolina became the 11th,Texas became the 12th with its pre-Roe law and Tennessee became the 13th.

Michigan, Wisconsin and West Virginia have old pro-life laws on the books but there is question about whether they are applicable and will be enforced.

Ultimately, as many as 26 states could immediately or quickly ban abortions and protect babies from certain death for the first time in nearly 50 years.

The 13 total states with trigger laws that would effectively ban all or most abortions are: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer authored a joint dissent condemning the decision as enabling states to enact “draconian” restrictions on women.

Polls show Americans are pro-life on abortion and a new national poll shows 75% of Americans essentially agree with the Supreme Court overturning Roe.