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Tipsheet

Kentucky AG Sues to Enforce Parts of Pro-Life Abortion Law

AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a lawsuit against Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) administration on Tuesday over a new law that would restrict access to abortions. The lawsuit is over which parts of the legislation must be enforced before a separate lawsuit related to the law is settled.

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The law, House Bill 3, bans most abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a limit that is mainstream in Europe. States such as Arizona and Florida have enacted similar laws. A 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi is currently under review by the Supreme Court and a decision is expected soon.

Louisville-based paper The Courier-Journal, which is part of USA Today, reported that two abortion providers filed a lawsuit in April, shortly after the law took effect, to stop its enforcement.

The new law would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and medication by mail used to terminate early pregnancies. It would also add new restrictions on abortion for minors and require the Cabinet to create an extensive regulatory system to certify and oversee anyone who manufactures, ships or dispenses the two-drug regimen to end a pregnancy.

After issuing a temporary injunction on most of HB 3, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings issued another preliminary injunction May 19, blocking the 15-week ban and enforcement of other major parts of the law — pending the anticipated ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court that may reverse the Roe v. Wade system and trigger an immediate abortion ban in Kentucky.

Grady's ruling did not force the cabinet to issue forms or regulations related to the law's requirements, but it also did not stop the cabinet from going ahead and doing that if it so chooses — while also staying any related litigation on the matter until the Supreme Court rules.

Cameron's lawsuit states the Beshear administration is required under HB 3 to create and distribute various reporting forms and promulgate administrative regulations overseeing the distribution and dispensing of abortion-inducing medication and the interment of fetal remains.

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A letter from Cameron’s office to the Kentucky cabinet’s general reportedly inferred that they would pursue legal action if they did not implement these provisions by June 3.

As ABC noted, the Supreme Court is reviewing a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization surrounds a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. A leaked draft opinion from the case published by Politico showed the justices overturning Roe

In the event of a Roe overturn, several states, including Kentucky, have “trigger” laws that would restrict abortions. Wisconsin and Michigan each have pre-Roe law on the books that would ban abortion.

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