Attorney General Cameron Files Brief Defending Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act, Heartbeat Law Ahead of Kentucky Supreme Court Oral Argument

FRANKFORT, Ky. (October 25, 2022) – Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a brief with the Supreme Court of Kentucky to continue his defense of Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act and Heartbeat Law ahead of next month’s oral argument. In the brief, Attorney General Cameron argues that the circuit court’s decision halting enforcement of these pro-life laws, which has been stayed by the Court of Appeals, should be permanently overruled because regulating abortion is a matter that should be left to the people’s representatives in the General Assembly.

“Kentucky case law clearly establishes that the General Assembly is the appropriate body to determine how Kentucky regulates abortion,” said Attorney General Cameron. “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs took this issue away from federal judges and returned it to the states, and our representatives must be given the opportunity to represent Kentuckians in this matter.”

In the court filing, Attorney General Cameron explains that nearly 150 years ago, Kentucky’s highest court held in Mitchell v. Commonwealth “that regulating abortion – even to the point of prohibiting it – is left to the General Assembly.” 

Attorney General Cameron argues that if the court decides to create a Kentucky version of Roe v. Wade, Kentucky courts will be required to substitute their own policy judgment for that of the legislature by “defining and re-defining how far the right to abortion goes.” He encourages the court to leave the issue of abortion to the General Assembly so that “its members can do what they are elected to do. They can listen to their constituents, hold legislative hearings, draft and pass laws, revise those laws if necessary, and stand for reelection based on their votes.”

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act and the Heartbeat Law were challenged by Kentucky’s two abortion facilities. Shortly afterward, a circuit judge in Louisville granted the abortion facilities’ request to stop the enforcement of the laws.

In July, Attorney General Cameron filed an appeal in the Kentucky Court of Appeals to have the Human Life Protection Act and the Heartbeat Law reinstated. The Kentucky Court of Appeals granted that request. 

In August, the Supreme Court of Kentucky, at the urging of Attorney General Cameron, denied the abortion facilities’ request to lift the stay and allowed these laws to remain in effect while the case moves forward. In September, following the Supreme Court’s decision to consider the challenge to these pro-life laws, Attorney General Cameron filed his opening brief arguing that the General Assembly has the policy-making prerogative to prohibit abortions and to decide what exceptions should apply.

Yesterday’s brief was filed ahead of oral argument in response to a filing by Kentucky’s two abortion facilities. Oral argument is scheduled before the Supreme Court of Kentucky for November 15, 2022.