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Judge considers challenge to Ky.’s abortion ban

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Ryan Van Velzer
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A Jefferson County Judge is expected to rule by Thursday on a restraining order that could restore abortions in Kentucky this week.

Jefferson County Circuit Court Chief Judge Mitch Perry heard arguments Wednesday in a case brought by Planned Parenthood and the ACLU Monday against the state’s trigger ban, which halted nearly all abortions as soon the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday to overturn the half-century precedent set forth in Roe v. Wade.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron responded to the suit, saying Kentucky’s constitution does not afford protection for that aspect of health care.

In court Wednesday, Kentucky Assistant Deputy Attorney General Christopher Thacker argued that people who are seeking abortions are not the parties in this case, one reason he says the judge should not grant the restraining order.

“None of these parties could possibly possess the right to an abortion,” he said. Gatnarek, with the ACLU, argued it’s the providers who would be charged with a felony under the trigger law for providing them.

Addia Wuchner, director of Kentucky Right to Life, and David Walls, director at The Family Foundation in Kentucky, attended the hearing. They said afterward that even if the judge rules to block the law, the fight is not over.

“As the Supreme Court just said, this is an issue that should be decided by the people in their states through their elected representatives,” Walls said. “In this case, it’s the General Assembly, and the General Assembly has emphatically [spoken], as Kentuckians have [spoken] through them, that they want to see unborn lives protected.”

The parties will meet again July 6 and present evidence for the judge to consider a temporary injunction. If that’s granted, it would last for the duration of the case.

In November, Kentucky residents will also vote on a constitutional amendment that would explicitly state nothing in that constitution protects abortions or funding for them.

Attorney General Cameron also filed a request Tuesday in a separate federal legal challenge to House Bill 3, the omnibus bill that the legislature passed in April. That law has been partially blocked for months. Cameron asked the judge to dismiss the preliminary injunction and declare the law constitutional, based on the Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last week.

This story has been updated. 

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