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Kentucky Supreme Court considers challenges to two life-affirming laws

by | Nov 16, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

The Kentucky Supreme Court, meeting a week after the pro-life Constitutional Amendment 2 narrowly lost, heard the state’s solicitor general defend two pro-life laws and the ACLU insist they will cause irreparable harm.

At this stage, the state’s highest court is not addressing whether the bans are constitutional. Rather the issue before the justices now is whether to reinstate an injunction first issued by Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry while a legal challenge works its way through the courts. After a request from Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the Kentucky Court of Appeals stayed the injunction.

According to WLYK, one law, “the so-called trigger law, took effect immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and bans all abortions except when the life of the mother is at risk. The other bans abortions after six weeks.”

“The attorney general respectfully urges the court not to go down that path, not to create the Kentucky version of Roe versus Wade,” said Matthew Kuhn, who argued the case on behalf of the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General. “When it comes to abortion, our constitution here in Kentucky is simply silent.” He added, “And there is not a shred of historical evidence, none from this court’s case law and none from our constitutional debates, that suggests our constitution implicitly protects abortion.”

Heather Gatnarek, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Kentucky,  argued that the injunction should be reinstated and upheld. “Patients’ irreparable injury includes being forced to remain pregnant against their will facing physical and mental health risks and the pain and trauma of a birth they did not choose or taking on the additional costs, time and hardship to travel out of state to access abortion care if they are able to at all.”

If these justices reinstate the injunction, ”That would make abortion legal again for however long it takes to decide on the constitutionality of these two laws,” Morgan Watkins reported for the Louisville Courier-Journal. However, abortions post-15 weeks  would still be prohibited under a different state law that this particular lawsuit isn’t challenging.

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