Judge gives sides in abortion lawsuit until July 18 to file pleadings; until then, at least, legal abortion can continue in Kentucky
Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry heard arguments. (Courier-Journal photo by Scott Utterback)
Kentucky Health News
Abortion can legally continue in Kentucky until at least July 18, the deadline a Louisville judge set to file briefs in a lawsuit seeking to create a right to abortion under the Kentucky Constitution.
Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry is considering whether to issue an injunction that would maintain the status quo until he tries the lawsuit filed by the state’s two abortion clinics. His June 30 restraining order allowed abortions to resume in Kentucky after the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
A Kentucky law, triggered by the decision, bans abortion except when the woman’s life is threatened. Perry’s order blocked the law temporarily.
Perry “said he was undecided” about issuing a more lasting injunction, reports
Mark Maynard of Kentucky Today
. Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who tried to get appellate courts to reinstate the trigger law, “does not understand why Kentucky’s new abortion laws are being delayed.”
A lawyer for the abortion clinics argued that women would be “forced to remain pregnant against their will,” in violation of the first two sections of the state constitution. Those sections say Kentuckians have “the right of seeking and pursuing their safety and happiness” and “Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.”
Kentucky courts have found in those sections a limited right to privacy. The state Supreme Court cited the sections and cases in 1992 when it struck down a law banning sexual activity between people of the same sex.
The state legislature, perhaps anticipating a similar decision regarding abortion, put on the Nov. 8 ballot a constitutional amendment saying that the constitution, written in 1891, does not create a right to abortion or government funding of it.
Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday that he would vote against the amendment because it has no exceptions for rape and incest. Beshear said he “generally” supports Roe v. Wade but opposes late-term abortion.