FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - U.S. District Judge David J. Hale granted the American Civil Liberties Union's request to block the enforcement of Senate Bill 9 and House Bill 5. It goes into effect immediately.
Senate Bill 9 would ban abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy before most women know they are pregnant. Gov. Matt Bevin, R-Kentucky, signed it into law.
House Bill 5 creates a new ban on abortions if a pregnant woman wants to undergo the procedure because of the unborn's "sex, race, color, national origin, or disability." A physician's license would be revoked if he or she practiced the procedure despite the prohibition. It would be a felony offense if someone violates the prohibition. This bill has not yet been signed into law.
Kentucky becomes the second state to enact a near total ban on abortion in 2019. This is the first challenge to such a ban this year.
District Judge David J. Hale released the temporary restraining order. In it, he argues SB 9 challenges the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which "includes the right to choose to have an abortion, subject to certain limitations."
District Judge Hale also referred to the Supreme Court's previous rulings, stating that "a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability."
The ACLU argued the rights of their patients would be harmed if both of those bills went into effect.
In reference to SB 9 specifically, District Judge Hale argues that some phrasing of the bill needs further explanation.
Dr. Ernest Marshall, EMW Women's Surgical Center said, “After 37 years of providing abortion care, ours is now the last clinic standing in Kentucky. Women’s health care is a sacred calling to me, and should be a priority in our state—it should never be compromised to score political points.”
Gov. Matt Bevin, R-Kentucky, reacted to the news in a video he shared on Facebook.
"We realize the ACLU is eager to attack a Kentucky bill protecting unborn children from being killed on the basis of race, gender, or disability," Gov. Bevin said. "But maybe they should have waited to file their legal challenge until after HB 5 is actually signed into law?"
He then shared a civics lesson from 'Schoolhouse Rock!"
You can watch Gov. Bevin's full video below.
The court is putting a temporary restraining order in effect to allow for more review of the bills and to prevent irreparable harm until there is a hearing.
The order expires in 14 days.
You can find the full order below.
Mississippi has also passed a similar ban that is not scheduled to take effect until July 1, 2019. Legislatures in several other states, including Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee, are contemplating similar bans.