In a landmark 5-to-2 ruling issued today, the Kentucky Supreme Court has upheld the state’s sweeping abortion restrictions, denying a challenge from Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and other organizations. The court ruled that the restrictions, which ban abortion after 11 weeks of pregnancy and prohibit abortions if an unborn fetus has a detectable heartbeat, do not violate a state constitutional right to obtain an abortion.
The ruling was celebrated as a victory for pro-life advocates. Kentucky Governor Matthew Bevin issued a statement hailing the decision, saying, “Today’s Kentucky Supreme Court’s ruling makes it crystal clear that Kentucky’s much-needed pro-life laws are fully constitutional.”
For reproductive rights supporters, the decision was a setback. “We are disappointed that the Kentucky Supreme Court failed to recognize that everyone has the right to access safe, legal abortion care,” said Meagan Gallagher, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, in a statement.
The court ruled that the laws do not violate Kentucky’s Equal Rights Amendment, which upheld “the right of individuals to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex,” since the laws apply equally to all individuals, regardless of gender.
The Kentucky Supreme Court’s ruling serves as a reminder of how much power state legislatures have when it comes to determining access to reproductive health care. With the two major parties increasingly polarized on the issue, the future of abortion rights in Kentucky remains uncertain.
Timothy D. Easley/AP
The Kentucky Supreme Courtroom has dominated the state’s in the vicinity of-whole bans on abortion will stay in position although a lawsuit over the make any difference continues. The bans consist of a 6-7 days ban and a set off regulation, which have been in position since August of previous calendar year.
The conclusion has been closely viewed as it will come just months soon after voters weighed in on the problem of abortion rights and signaled support for abortion legal rights at the ballot box.
The two condition laws – a ban on practically all abortions in Kentucky and a ban on most abortions after about six months of being pregnant – were being authorized to acquire impact past 12 months adhering to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Wellness Firm final decision.
Both of those rules were being passed in 2019, as part of a many years-long hard work by largely Republican lawmakers in several states to restrict the technique as much as achievable. They place in location layers of limits that could choose influence in the function that Roe v. Wade was either partly or, as in Dobbs, completely overturned.
Kentucky’s two remaining clinics, Prepared Parenthood and EMW Women’s Surgical Centre, have been pressured to halt providing abortions in early August. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged both equally bans, prompting a chain of litigation that culminated with arguments before the Kentucky Supreme Court docket in November.
The oral arguments ahead of the Supreme Courtroom of Kentucky took area just times just after voters turned down Modification 2, which would have amended the state constitution to point out explicitly that there is no right to an abortion.
Kentucky Attorney Common Daniel Cameron, a Republican, defended the two guidelines, arguing that the condition legislature — not the courts — has the appropriate to control abortion. The ACLU argued that the rules violate numerous legal rights certain by Kentucky’s point out Structure, between them the “ideal of searching for and pursuing their protection and contentment” and flexibility from “complete and arbitrary energy.”
As Kentucky Public Radio has reported, the state’s seven-human being substantial courtroom now has a new chief justice and two new associates, adding to the uncertainty close to how the freshly constituted courtroom may rule.
Immediately after the Dobbs determination, abortion legal rights teams in several states with pre-existing abortion bans regarded as “result in regulations” filed lawsuits tough them in condition courtroom. In Louisiana, for illustration, reproductive rights legal professionals persuaded a choose to block abortion limits, successful clinics in the point out a short-term reprieve in advance of a state decide eventually authorized them consider effect, prohibiting practically all abortions.
About a dozen states have banned most or all abortions, according to info stored by the Centre for Reproductive Legal rights legal guidelines in a number of other states like Ohio and Indiana are tied up in ongoing litigation.