Governor opposes motion to delay new abortion law banning common procedure

Published: May. 9, 2018 at 1:51 PM EDT
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Kentucky's governor has submitted a brief opposing a motion for preliminary injunction filed by the American Civil Liberties Union regarding House Bill 454, an abortion procedure ban signed into law.

The law bans a common second-trimester abortion procedure known as "dilation and evacuation." The procedure was used in 537 of 3,312 abortions done in Kentucky in 2016, according to state statistics.

Attorneys for Governor Bevin say it is in the best interest of the state to prevent delaying the law.

“This gruesome procedure, which rips apart a live, unborn child, is antithetical to everything that we stand for as a civilized society,” said Steve Pitt, Gov. Bevin’s general counsel. “H.B. 454 recognizes the dignity of human life and provides an alternative method for performing dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions that does not subject the unborn to the torture and agony of being dismembered while alive.”

The governor's office argues the law does not ban all dilation and evacuation abortions, but it does ban the type caused through live dismemberment. Attorneys say the law requires "fetal demise" before limbs are dissected from the body and removed from the womb.

The ACLU says the law disregards a woman's private medical decisions "in favor of a narrow, ideological agenda." It says the law forces women to either leave the state to undergo the procedure or forego the care.

A federal judge signed an order temporarily stalling enforcement of the new abortion law in April. Under the joint consent order, state officials agreed to take no action to enforce the law until a judge rules on the ACLU's request.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.