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Tipsheet

Another Judge Temporarily Blocks State's Abortion Trigger Law, This Time in Kentucky

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Despite the U.S. Supreme Court officially overturning Roe v. Wade with its Dobbs v. Jackson decision last Friday, thus sending the abortion decision back to the states, judges continue to temporarily block state trigger laws from going into effect. This now includes Kentucky. 

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Earlier on Thursday, Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry granted a request from Kentucky's two abortion facilities in Louisville to temporarily block the trigger law, the Louisville Courier Journal reported. The facilities, Planned Parenthood and EMW Women's Surgical Center, had ceased providing abortions last Friday, but abortions may now resume in Kentucky, at least for the time being. 

Kentucky's trigger law was a handful of state laws that banned abortions immediately once Roe was overturned. It contained exceptions for life of the mother or if an abortion was needed to prevent "substantial risk of death due to a physical condition, or to prevent the serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman." 

The judge's order also blocked a state law from 2019 that bans abortion once a heartbeat is detected. 

Lawyers representing the abortion facilities claim that the state constitution protects abortion: 

Perry's ruling follows a hearing Wednesday where lawyers for Planned Parenthood and EMW argued that abortion remains a right in Kentucky under the state constitution. They asked for a temporary order barring enforcement of the state trigger law while a lawsuit they filed goes through court.

But lawyers for [Attorney General Daniel] Cameron argued the law represents the will of the legislature and there is no state constitutional claim to abortion.

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What hope for relief plaintiffs may have when it comes to the argument that the state constitution protects abortion may not last for long. Kentuckians will vote in November on a ballot initiative as to whether or not the state constitution protects abortion. 

While Kentucky is governed by a pro-abortion Democrat, Andy Beshear, pro-life Attorney General Daniel Cameron has vowed to defend the law and has been outspoken against the judge's decision. He is running for governor in next year's race. 

On Monday, judges in Louisiana and Utah also temporarily blocked similar abortion bans in those states. A judge had also done so in Texas on Wednesday. A judge on Thursday also blocked Florida's 15-week abortion ban, a decision which Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) says he'll appeal. 

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