Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron urged the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to allow the state to enforce pro-life laws that are protecting thousands of unborn babies from abortion.
His office refuted claims from pro-abortion groups that the laws are causing “irreparable harm” and must be blocked, WLKY News reports. Pro-life leaders estimate the laws will save thousands of unborn babies’ lives every year.
The two abortion facilities in the state, EMW Women’s Surgical Center and Planned Parenthood, want the Kentucky Supreme Court to temporarily block two state pro-life laws while their constitutional challenge against them moves through the courts. It is not clear when the justices will rule on their request for a temporary injunction.
At the hearing Tuesday, attorney for the state Matt Kuhn urged the justices not to invent a non-existent right to abortion in the state constitution, as Roe v. Wade mistakenly did with the U.S. Constitution in 1973, according to the report.
“They’re asking this court to hold that our constitution enshrines a right to abortion for any reason and no matter the circumstances,” Kuhn said.
At issue in the case are two state pro-life laws, the Human Life Protection Act and Heartbeat Law, which prohibit almost all abortions from the moment of conception and after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable.
The American Civil Liberties Union, EMW Women’s Surgical Center and Planned Parenthood challenged both laws, arguing that they violate the right to privacy in the Kentucky Constitution. In a separate lawsuit, pro-abortion groups also sued to block a law that bans the killing of unborn babies in abortions after 15 weeks. That case also is on-going.
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At the hearing, ACLU attorney Heather Gatnarek claimed the near-total abortion bans are causing “irreparable harm” by forcing women to either have their babies or travel to another state to abort them, Politico reports. She also argued that the laws are causing “pain and trauma” for women by saving their unborn babies’ lives.
But Kuhn said Kentuckians support legal protections for unborn babies, noting how voters repeatedly have elected pro-life majorities to the state legislature to pass such laws.
The state legislature is “the branch of government most responsive to the people” and should be allowed to enact laws that protect unborn babies from abortion, he continued, according to Politico.
However, a few of the justices challenged Kuhn’s arguments, pointing to voters’ recent rejection of a state constitutional amendment that would have made clear that there is no “right” to abortion in Kentucky.
Here’s more from the report:
[They argued] the 1891 constitution may be “silent” on abortion because women had no voice in law or in politics when it was drafted, and that last week’s referendum vote is more representative.
“It strikes me that a ballot initiative is the purest form of democracy,” said Deputy Chief Justice Lisabeth Hughes. “It is the people, themselves, speaking.”
Outside pro-abortion individuals and groups dumped huge amounts of money into Kentucky ahead of the election, misleading voters about the amendment. Pro-life leaders said the results did not truly reflect where Kentucky residents stand on abortion.
A recent Civiqs poll found 53 percent of Kentucky voters believe abortions should be illegal in most or all cases, compared to 43 percent who believe abortions should be legal in most or all cases.
“It is the responsibility of this office to defend the laws passed by the General Assembly,” state Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in a statement. “Today, we did so by defending Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act and Heartbeat Law in the Kentucky Supreme Court. We have asked the court to allow these pro-life laws to stand and to recognize that policy-making authority belongs to the General Assembly, not the judiciary.”
The laws, which went into effect this summer, forced the two abortion facilities in the state, Planned Parenthood and EMW Clinic in Louisville, to stop aborting unborn babies, saving thousands of lives. Approximately 4,000 unborn babies were aborted every year in Kentucky under Roe v. Wade.