Jefferson Circuit Judge hears both sides on whether to allow abortion injunction

By Jack Brammer
NKyTribune journalist

A Jefferson Circuit Court judge is weighing whether to expand abortion access in Kentucky.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron and the state’s two abortion centers met a deadline set Monday by Judge Mitch Perry to file closing arguments on how he should rule.

Cameron is asking the court to reject a request from the facilities for a temporary injunction that would allow abortions while their lawsuit against an abortion initiation law goes to trial.

The 2019 trigger law automatically eliminated access to most abortions in Kentucky following the June 24 U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The 1973 ruling declaring abortion a constitutional right. Kentucky’s trigger law allows a doctor to perform the procedure if deemed necessary to prevent death or permanent injury to the mother.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Kentucky, representing the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, along with Planned Parenthood, filed suit against the state’s trigger law shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States.

In June, Judge Perry issued a temporary restraining order against the trigger law, allowing abortions to resume in Kentucky at EMW and Planned Parenthood. Cameron appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the Kentucky Supreme Court, but lost.

The case continues in Jefferson Circuit Court, and Monday’s closing arguments were the latest legal action. Judge Perry could rule on the temporary injunction request at any time.

Abortion providers say the laws violate a state’s constitutional right to abortion.

Cameron, a Republican who wants to unseat Democratic incumbent Andy Beshear in next year’s gubernatorial race, said Monday the trigger law reflects “Kentucky’s commitment to protecting unborn life, a commitment that I share and will continue to uphold by defending these important laws.

“Each day these laws are not allowed to take effect, elective abortions will continue and more unborn lives will be lost. We ask the court to restore the laws while the litigation continues.

In his filings, Cameron said, “The nature of the immediate and irreparable harm here is particularly pernicious. Failure to apply even ordinary laws constitutes irreparable harm. The non-enforcement of the Human Life Protection Law and the Heartbeat Law represents something much more serious.

“These laws prohibit what the General Assembly has determined to be the wrongful termination of unborn human life. So every day these laws are not enforced is a day the unborn children of the Commonwealth perish.

Cameron also filed a motion Monday in Jefferson Circuit Court to dismiss the case, arguing that abortion centers and the Kentucky Constitution leave decisions about abortions to the state legislature.

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