Breaking News
More () »

ACLU of Kentucky, Family Foundation prepare for long legal battle after judge gives temporary pause on abortion law

The 20-page opinion from Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry that came down on Friday allows abortions to continue in the state.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After a month of legal battles, a judge has ruled that abortions can continue in Kentucky.

The 20-page opinion from Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry that came down on Friday grants a stay of the temporary injunction allowing abortions to continue in the state.

The ongoing fight has been the subject of several recent protests across the commonwealth.

The debate began when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24. Kentucky's trigger law, banning almost all abortions, went into effect immediately.

Then, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of Kentucky’s only two clinics, and on June 30, a judge sided with EMW Women's Surgical Center and Planned Parenthood, which paused the ban temporarily as the judge reviewed the case.

Within hours, Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed an appeal; it was rejected, so he tried taking it to the Kentucky Supreme Court, but justices denied it on July 5.

RELATED: Poll: Majority in US want legal abortion nationally

Both sides filed briefings in Jefferson Circuit Court on Monday, and now the pause is extended.

The ACLU praised the decision.

"Our legal team has been working essentially around the clock to ensure that our clients can continue to provide care to the people of Kentucky,” ACLU of Kentucky Communications Director Angela Cooper said.

While the pro-life group, The Family Foundation, immediately rebuked his ruling.

“It's an absurd act of judicial activism at the state level,” Michael Johnson, policy advisor with the The Family Foundation, said. “It has long been the intent and will of Kentuckians and the General Assembly to protect life in the womb."

Perry wrote that the plaintiff, EMW, demonstrated it will “suffer irreparable harm without injunctive relief,” citing the 200 patients the clinic had to turn away between when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and when the temporary restraining order was granted.

Perry also wrote, “abortion is a form of healthcare" and that “the inquiry does not end simply because the word 'abortion' is not found in the Kentucky constitution."

It's a point The Family Foundation pushed back on.

“It's absurd to think that there's been this secret right to abortion within the Kentucky constitution despite the commonwealth's 150-year-long pro-life history,” Johnson said.

Cooper said though the landscape is ever-changing, she hopes Kentuckians are encouraged.

"The judge's granting the injunction today gives us hope that he believes we do have a strong case and we will continue to fight,” she said.                   

While both sides expect a continuing legal battle, they also both look ahead to November.

Kentuckians will be able to vote 'yes' or 'no' on a constitutional amendment that would guarantee there is no right to an abortion in the state.

RELATED: Abortion debate continues in Kentuckiana: protest in New Albany, briefings filed in Kentucky

Read the statements from both sides of the debate below:

The ACLU and EMW released a joint statement regarding the decision:

“Once again, the courts have rightly stopped Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s relentless efforts to ban abortion, which would have devastating consequences for Kentuckians. No one should be forced to carry a pregnancy against their will or flee the state to access essential health care. Kentuckians have a right to abortion under the state constitution, and we’ll continue fighting for that right so that every person in the commonwealth can get the care they need.”

Here’s the statement from Cameron:

A Louisville Judge’s decision today to continue halting Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act and Heartbeat Law is disappointing, and we will seek appellate relief.  The Judge’s suggestion that Kentucky’s Constitution contains a right to abortion is not grounded in the text and history of our state’s governing document. We will continue our steadfast defense of these bipartisan laws that represent the Commonwealth’s commitment to the lives of the unborn.

Statement from David Walls, Executive Director of The Family Foundation:

Judge Perry’s appalling action to issue a temporary injunction against enforcement of Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act is egregiously wrong and unjustifiable. Perry continues to blatantly disregard the Commonwealth’s pro-life laws, history, and the U.S. Supreme Court. But make no mistake, Kentucky’s prohibition on abortion is still the law of the land in Kentucky. The Kentucky Supreme Court must end this injunction immediately to ensure that the abortion industry stops killing children in the womb in violation of the law.”

“Judge Perry’s suggestion that the Kentucky Constitution somehow secretly contains a right to terminate the life and stop the beating heart of an unborn human being, despite Kentucky’s clear 150-year pro-life history, is absolutely absurd. This is also a crystal-clear reminder why Kentuckians must ensure that this injustice is only temporary and this state-level judicial activism can never happen again by passing the “Yes for Life” Constitutional Amendment on November 8,” Walls concluded.

On June 24, the Kentucky General Assembly having made its pro-life intent clear, Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act went into effect when the U.S. Supreme Court declared that there is no federal right to abortion. Lives were immediately saved, with the judge told that more than 200 preborn children had been saved within the few days following. Judge Perry’s radical judicial activism has since claimed to effectively suspend Kentucky law contrary to the Kentucky Constitution, facilitating abortion mills in terminating the lives of unborn human children.

The Kentucky Supreme Court must act and immediately end this single judge’s egregiously wrong decision to effectively suspend enforcement of laws passed by the Kentucky General Assembly, despite the Kentucky Constitution expressly prohibiting him from doing so."

Read Right to Life's Statement here.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Before You Leave, Check This Out