Kentucky abortion law dependent on SCOTUS ruling

Planned Parenthood asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order on the law, barring it from staying in effect until the case moves forward.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Constitutional law experts said the fate of Kentucky’s new abortion law, which essentially banned all abortions in the commonwealth by adding several barriers, will likely depend on a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on a different abortion case. 

“Depending on what the Supreme Court does, there may be no constitutional provision problems with these laws,” U of L law professor Russell Weaver said. “On the other hand, if it maintains Roe and leaves it pretty much intact, you might be allowed to argue that there are some constitutional issues with it.”

RELATED: With Roe in doubt, states move to limit or expand abortion access

The new law, commonly called House Bill 3 or HB3, adds a variety of restrictions on abortions, including banning the procedure after 15 weeks in almost all cases, strictly regulating access to the abortion pill and adding several new reporting requirements like requiring providers to report the age of the patient getting the abortion and how the fetal remains are disposed of. 

The abortion case being looked at by the U.S. Supreme Court centers on a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

That case is the first direct challenge to Roe since the landmark decision came down. 

In 1973, the nation’s high court issued a ruling that legalized abortions nationwide. Now, they are revisiting that. SCOTUS is currently considering whether all bans on abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb are unconstitutional. 

That decision is expected to come down by the end of June.

While there’s no language that says abortions are banned outright in Kentucky, the providers who perform them say this law creates a lot of barriers and they can’t legally perform the procedures anymore. That’s something they feel violates the precedent set by Roe v. Wade. 

Kentucky has two abortion providers: EMW Women’s Surgical Center and Planned Parenthood. Since this law took effect immediately when it was passed, both stopped abortions that day.

Doctors who perform abortions in cases where a woman is at risk of serious injury or death are protected under Kentucky law.

In a statement, a lawyer with the Kentucky Hospital Association says hospitals will incorporate the requirements of the new abortion law into their existing operations and don’t think they’ll have to consult with hospital attorneys prior to providing that care. 

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood both filed lawsuits claiming the law is unconstitutional.

Planned Parenthood asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order on the law, barring it from staying in effect until the case moves forward in court.

“A temporary restraining order would halt enforcement of this important law, which protects unborn life and promotes the health and safety of women,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in an emailed statement. 

Cameron has pledged to defend this law in court and said he believes the General Assembly passed this law to protect the lives of women. 

There are still abortion providers in Indiana and Ohio.

If you think you’re pregnant and are considering your options, a spokesperson from Planned Parenthood said to still schedule an appointment with them in Kentucky and they’ll help get you in contact with resources you may need. 

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