Hearing held on ACLU challenge to Kentucky abortion ban
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - The lawsuit filed to restore abortion access in Kentucky went before a Jefferson County judge Wednesday.
The ACLU filed the lawsuit Monday, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Kentucky’s trigger law went into effect immediately, banning abortions in the state.
The ACLU claims the ban violates the state’s constitution and is asking the judge to block it. The organization argues the trigger ban has irreparable harm, saying it forces women to be pregnant against their wishes, or travel out of state to get an abortion.
The ACLU told the court since Friday, 200 patients have tried to get an abortion at the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville.
They add there is a vagueness problem with the trigger ban saying as it is written, the law was supposed to take effect upon a decision by the Supreme Court. They say that is not necessarily the same as an opinion or judgment, which are the terms the court uses.
“Other states with trigger bans have held that their state trigger bans would not take effect until the judgment issues of the U.S. Supreme Court which would be 25 days after the opinion,” said ALCU attorney Heather Gatnarek. “There is at least a question as to the effective date of the trigger ban.”
Representatives from Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s Office argued that, in this suit in particular, the applicant, which is Planned Parenthood and the ACLU on behalf of the surgical center, do not fall under the statute that says a restraining order can only be granted if the applicant’s rights are violated, and will suffer injury.
They also argued not being able to practice medicine is not a violation of constitutional rights.
“We’ve heard a lot of talk about women who may or may not possess an alleged constitutional right to a particular abortion. No such woman is before the court. Before the court are two businesses and a physician. None of those parties could possibly possess a right to an abortion,” said Christopher Thacker, Kentucky Attorney General’s Office.
Wednesday’s hearing was for a temporary restraining order until there is a hearing and ruling for a temporary injunction on the trigger law as it plays out in a trial. The judge has not yet made a decision.
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