A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Supreme Court hears oral arguments on two abortion cases; no indication of decision timeline

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday on whether to reinstate a temporary injunction that would prevent two abortion laws from being enforced.

One of the laws is Kentucky’s trigger abortion ban, which took effect when Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer. The ban includes exceptions when the life and health of the mother is at risk. The other law before the high court bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the laws was filed by EMW Women’s Surgical Center and Planned Parenthood in Louisville, Kentucky’s only two abortion clinics.

Kentucky Supreme Court hears oral arguments on abortion cases. (Photo by Tom Latek/Kentucky Today)

A temporary injunction was issued by a Jefferson Circuit Court judge on June 30, but the injunction was lifted by a state appeals court on August 1 pending the Kentucky Supreme Court’s review. Elective abortion services have been suspended in Kentucky since the injunction was lifted.

Matt Kuhn, Solicitor General for Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office, argued the case on behalf of Cameron.

“The abortion facilities are asking this Court to hold that our Constitution enshrines the right to an abortion for any reason and no matter what the circumstances,” he said. “The Attorney General respectfully urges the Court not to go down that path, and not to create another version of Roe v. Wade.”

He also noted that because of Roe v. Wade, the Kentucky Supreme Court has not had to deal with the abortion issue for 50 years.

“When it comes to abortion, our constitution here in Kentucky is simply silent,” Kuhn said.

Heather Gatnarek, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Kentucky, represented the abortion clinics.

“The Circuit Court has correctly noted that the right to privacy has been consistently recognized as an integral part of our 1891 Constitution, so the temporary injunction should be reinstated,” she said. “Just last week, Kentucky voters declined to remove protection for abortions from our Constitution (in the vote to pass Amendment 2).”

“When it comes to abortion, our constitution here in Kentucky is simply silent,” Kuhn said.

There is no timeline for when the Supreme Court might decide on the reinstatement or dismissal of the temporary injunction, but two of the sitting justices are retiring when their terms end in January.

Even if the temporary injunction is reinstated, no abortions will be performed after 15 weeks of pregnancy under other Kentucky laws that remain in effect.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment