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Kentucky abortion law blocked in win for clinics

A large banner reading "Bans off My Body" is draped over the steps at the Kentucky Capitol, as several demonstrators talk in the background.
Demonstrators at the Kentucky Capitol protested late last month against a bill restricting abortion in the state. It became law last week, but two organizations have filed documents in federal court asking judges to block it/.

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a new Republican-backed state law that led Kentucky’s two remaining abortion clinics to halt the procedure. 

District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings issued the temporary restraining order blocking House Bill 3 Thursday, just over a week after it became law. 

Passed by the Republican-led legislature, the law bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and requires women to be examined by a doctor before receiving abortion pills. It also contains new reporting requirements that the Kentucky clinics said they couldn’t immediately comply with.

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed documents in federal court the day after it went into effect, asking judges to block the law. 

Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky issued a statement Thursday following the temporary block.

"We're grateful for the temporary restraining order restricting this egregious abortion ban from continuing to block a constitutionally protected right to basic care,” Gibron said. “This is a win, but it is only the first step. We’re prepared to fight for our patients’ right to basic health in court and to continue doing everything in our power in ensure abortion access is permanently secured in Kentucky.” 

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a response earlier this week asking the judge in the Planned Parenthood case not to block it, saying the organization hadn’t proven that it was unconstitutional and that Planned Parenthood doesn’t have to comply with new regulations until they are in place. 

The judge has not yet ruled on the constitutionality of the law. Dates are expected to be set soon for a preliminary injunction hearing.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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