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Attorneys for women challenging Kentucky's anti-abortion laws say state's IVF clinics, clients in jeopardy

Lisa Sobel (center) and two other women, with the assistance of attorneys Aaron Kemper (left) and Ben Potash (right) are seeking to overturn the state's abortion laws, which they say violate the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act and threaten IVF clinics and clients.
Jessica Kalb
Lisa Sobel (center) and two other women, with the assistance of attorneys Aaron Kemper (left) and Ben Potash (right) are seeking to overturn the state's abortion laws, which they say violate the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act and threaten IVF clinics and clients.

A lawsuit by three Jewish women seeking to overturn Kentucky’s laws banning abortions has gained more attention since in vitro fertilization clinics in Alabama shut down after a state Supreme Court ruling in that state. Lisa Sobel said she and her husband’s four-year-old daughter is a product of IVF and after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal abortion protections, she and others in the IVF community grew concerned. 

“Many of the trigger laws across the country, and specifically here in Kentucky, were going to put IVF in jeopardy because they defined life as beginning at the point when a sperm and an egg meet.” 

The suit, filed in Jefferson County in the fall of ’22, claims Kentucky abortion laws violate their rights under Kentucky’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act – that Jews believe life begins at birth, not conception. Attorney Ben Potash said Kentucky’s in vitro fertilization clinics and clients are in jeopardy, just as they are in Alabama.

“The law that is at issue in Alabama, the Human Life Protection Act, HLPA, is also the same law as in Kentucky; the definitions are word for word identical. So what happened in Alabama can and perhaps will happen here to Kentucky as well.”

The Kentucky suit, filed in Jefferson Circuit Court, seeks to have all state laws banning abortion thrown out – partly on religious freedom grounds. The General Assembly is considering several bills backers say would protect the IVF process.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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