Legal challenges to Kentucky’s pro-life laws continue

By Kentucky Right to Life Association

A quick review of bogged-down cases:

  1. On Oct. 30, AG Daniel Cameron requested the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Dismemberment Abortion law which the Appeals Court overturned last June. This law passed the Kentucky legislature in April of 2018. In Nebraska, a law prohibiting Dismemberment abortion on live unborn babies went into effect last month. This means that 14 states have passed such legislation, but only four have enacted their law: Nebraska, Miss., West Virginia, and Ohio. Why not Kentucky? Think positive and pray.
  1. On Nov. 20, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the EMW [Kentucky’s only  abortion clinic], along with attorneys from Calif., Washington D.C., New York, and Louisville (total 13 attorneys), filed a document in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to request an En Banc hearing of the Transfer Agreements case which the Appeals Court panel upheld on October 16. The Transfer Agreement law passed the Kentucky Legislature in July of 1998. It had been ignored before [former Governor] Bevin took office.
  1. In the spring of 2019 Kentucky’s Heartbeat and No Discrimination laws passed and were quickly challenged and combined in a legal maneuver by the ACLU. Last spring Western District Judge Dale Hale stated he would wait to hear the Appeals Court verdict on an Ohio law (Preterm-Cleveland v. Himes), which would ban abortion on Down syndrome babies, before deciding the case. 

However, a Tennessee law similar to Kentucky’s Heartbeat/No Discrimination laws was partially upheld –to ban abortions based on Down syndrome or race– by the Appeals Court on Nov. 20. This action could affect Judge Hale’s decision. The Appeals panel did not uphold the entire Tennessee law. Kentucky AG Cameron led an 18-state coalition in an Amicus brief, asking the Appeals Court to uphold the entire law.

Some existing laws are also in a state of suspension. Kentucky’s law to require that women be made aware of the Abortion Pill Reversal method by her abortion doctor, which passed in spring 2019, is not currently enforced since a woman can order abortion pills online with only an online medical consultation. It’s likely that not many women know this, or abortion statistics for the EMW would be lower. This national ruling also overrides, we assume, Kentucky’s law against TelMed, WebCam or “telehealth” abortions.

Kentucky law also requires that a physician certify that an abortion is necessary, and this doctor must also describe the basis for his/her best clinical judgment. Numerous articles state that most abortions are done for social or economic reasons.

Though ‘clinical’ once referred to medical treatment, it now only means that a person has been observed in a clinic setting.

Let’s continue to insist on the rule of law and work hard for pro-life goals.