A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Abortion: Will access be restored after victory at the polls? Supreme Court to hear first case on Tuesday

By Jack Brammer
NKyTribune reporter
Amber Duke, interim executive director for the ACLU of Kentucky, was pleased this week when Kentucky voters defeated a proposed change to the state Constitution that would have declared there was no right to abortion.

“This is a victory for bodily autonomy and the right of all Kentuckians to make the best decisions for themselves, but the fight is not over,” Duke said.
“We will now continue our fight in state court to restore abortion access in the Commonwealth.”

The next fight is in the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Justices have scheduled a 10 a.m. hearing Tuesday to hear the ACLU’s challenges to two abortion bans that have blocked access to care.

The hearing will be streamed live at www.ket.org/supremecourt.

“We are seeking a temporary injunction to allow our client, EMW Women’s Surgical Center and Planned Parenthood, both in Louisville, to resume abortion services as our case plays out in court,” said Duke.

The abortion rights advocates hope the state’s highest court quickly lifts a temporary ban on the clinics and allows abortions again.

If the amendment had passed, it would have left courts with little room for courts to determine if abortion access was protected by constitutional rights like privacy, control of the body and self-determination.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and other anti-abortion Republicans have argued that the Kentucky General Assembly should determine abortion laws, not the courts.

Will Tuesday’s vote have any bearing on the Kentucky vote on the abortion constitutional amendment?

Cameron said Wednesday he did not think so. The Kentucky Supreme Court previously said no to a request from the ACLU of Kentucky and Planned Parenthood in August to stop the two abortion bans going into effect.

While the result of the amendment vote “is disappointing, it does not change our belief that there is no right to abortion hidden in the Kentucky Constitution and that the regulation of abortion policy is a matter that belong to our elected representatives in the General Assembly,” said Cameron.

“Today, we filed a motion with the Kentucky Supreme Court to explain why this outcome has no bearing on whether the Court should consider creating a Kentucky version of Roe v. Wade.”

He was referring to the federal Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn the case that allowed abortions.

The Kentucky Supreme Court said in August that the ban on abortions in Kentucky will remain in effect at least until the Kentucky Supreme Court considers in November a legal challenge by abortion providers.

The state’s highest court denied in August a request by abortion advocates to put a temporary ban on state laws that restrict abortion access.

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One Comment

  1. Wayne Schmidt says:

    Does the baby (If you prefer, the fetus) feel pain before dying via abortion? Think about it before condemning me for the question, then provide a sensible answer.

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