FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state's near-total abortion ban will remain in place while it reviews arguments by abortion clinics challenging two state laws.
It was the latest legal setback for the two remaining abortion clinics in Kentucky — both in Louisville, the state's largest city. The state's highest court kept in place a recent lower court ruling that reimposed the ban on nearly all abortions in Kentucky.
Abortion rights have been reinstated and then revoked again by judges in Kentucky since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
Kentucky's justices in Thursday's ruling denied a request by the abortion clinics to reimpose an injunction that temporarily prevented the state's near-total abortion ban from taking effect.
In doing so, the Supreme Court ruled that the “circumstances” presented by the clinics and their attorneys in their motion “do not rise to the level of extraordinary cause.”
The Supreme Court agreed to take the case and set a schedule for the submission of briefs and for arguments before the justices. The high court set a hearing for Nov. 15. That will be after the upcoming general election.
Kentucky's Republican-dominated legislature enacted a “trigger law” banning nearly all abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The only exception under the measure is when the health of the mother is threatened. Lawmakers also passed a separate 6-week ban that the clinics also challenged.
Last month, a circuit judge in Louisville temporarily blocked the two laws while the courts reviewed whether the measures violate Kentucky’s constitution. A state appeals court judge earlier this month said the ban should take effect, even if the laws are in dispute, because in Kentucky, “a statute carries with it the presumption of constitutionality.”
Following the announcement the ACLU, ACLU of Kentucky and Planned Parenthood released the following statement:
“The Supreme Court’s decision to allow Kentucky’s abortion bans to remain in effect puts nearly a million people’s health care in jeopardy. Abortion is not only health care but also a critical individual freedom. Make no mistake: abortion bans result in tragic health outcomes and are a form of control over our bodies. Despite this setback, the fight continues. We will proceed with our case to restore and protect reproductive freedom in Kentucky. Politicians and the government should never have the authority to force a person to remain pregnant against their will.”
Here's what Attorney General Daniel Cameron said of the decision:
In Dobbs, the United States Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion to the elected representatives of the people of each state. So that the promises of Dobbs may be realized, and to avoid being embroiled in another 50 years of political acrimony, courts around the country, and here at home, must allow our policy makers in the General Assembly to speak for the people they represent. We are pleased with this victory for life and the rule of law and will continue to prepare for the arguments the Court has scheduled.
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