Abortion ban in Kentucky returns after appeals court decision

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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Abortion is again banned in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s motion to reinstate the abortion rule that bans the procedure upon detection of a fetal heartbeat. The rule was automatically triggered with the overturning of the federal Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in June.

“Today, the Court of Appeals granted our motion to have the Kentucky Human Life Protection Act and the Heartbeat Law reinstated in the Commonwealth,” Cameron Tweeted, of the two laws that ban abortion in Kentucky. The Human Life Protection Act is otherwise known as the Omnibus Abortion Bill and bans the procedure after 15 weeks. 

The American Civil Liberties Union said they plan to appeal the decision to the Kentucky Supreme Court on Tuesday. 

The ruling in favor of Cameron comes ten days after a Louisville judge issued an injunction that blocked the laws from going into effect until the courts had time to litigate the matter.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed the lawsuit after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which automatically triggered an abortion ban in Kentucky as part of the fetal heartbeat law. 

“Today is a devastating day for all Kentuckians,” said Rebecca Gibron, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky. “Abortion is essential health care, and it is irresponsible and dangerous to prevent people from accessing the care they need. Make no mistake – this ban goes beyond abortion. It is about who has power over you, who has the authority to make decisions for you, and who can control how your future is going to be. But it is my promise to the people of Kentucky that Planned Parenthood will never back down. We will always be here for you.”

On July 22, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry issued a decision that temporarily blocked the implementation of a trigger ban that automatically kicked in once the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in the United States.  

Cameron expected that decision from Perry and said that as soon as a decision was made, he would take it to the appellate courts of Kentucky. 

“My hope is that we’ll have a ruling in the next few weeks from Judge Perry, at which time the order will be final and appealable,” Cameron said a day before Perry made his decision. “We can take it directly to the Kentucky appellate.” 

Abortion in Kentucky has gone back and forth in the courts this year. In the spring, the Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 3, the omnibus abortion bill that banned abortion after the 15th week and made it harder for minors to get the medical procedure. The ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed suit immediately. In June, Cameron filed a lawsuit against Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration over the bill’s implementation. 

But just over a week later, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that gave women the right to an abortion. The ruling effectively sent the decision back to the states, and under Kentucky’s fetal Heartbeat the law, the last two abortion providers in Kentucky were forced to stop the procedure. 

Perry then blocked enforcement of Kentucky’s fetal heartbeat trigger ban on June 30, which allowed abortion services to continue in Kentucky. 

“Tonight, in one fateful moment, Kentuckians saw their reproductive freedom stolen by their elected officials,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president & CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “It is devastating and cruel. But the fight is not over. We will explore all options to ensure that people across the state can access abortion services. This is not a game. These are people’s lives.”

Related:  Attorney general files lawsuit against Beshear over implementation of abortion bill

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