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Judge grants preliminary injunction for parts of abortion bill

EMW Women's Surgical center in downtown Louisville is one of only two abortion providers in the state of Kentucky.
EMW Women's Surgical center in downtown Louisville is one of only two abortion providers in the state of Kentucky.

A United States District Court judge for the Western District of Kentucky has granted a preliminary injunction extending a block already put in place for some parts of House Bill 3, the omnibus abortion bill. 

When House Bill 3 first came into law, all abortion in Kentucky ceased as the state’s two abortion providers said they couldn’t offer care and comply with regulations that had not yet been created by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Kentucky, on behalf of EMW Women's Surgical Center, filed lawsuits against the bill. 

The preliminary injunction follows a temporary restraining order the judge granted in April, which was extended earlier this month.

“We are grateful the court recognized the constitutional infirmities with HB 3 and granted a preliminary injunction,” Heather Gatnarek, staff attorney, ACLU of Kentucky, said in a news release. “With the court’s order, EMW Women’s Surgical Center can continue to provide abortions to people in Kentucky as they have done for decades.”

The Louisville Planned Parenthood location and EMW Women's Surgical Center are the only abortion providers in the state. 

This injunction does not ban the bill altogether. Some parts are allowed as the court case goes forward. A news release from the plaintiffs says it permits "only a small number of provisions that abortion providers can comply with to take effect."

It continues to say that state officials won't be able to enforce key parts of H.B. 3 until Kentucky adopts "rules and regulations that abortion providers need to comply."

The future of abortion access is currently in question after a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court suggested justices will rule to overturn the precedent set in Roe v. Wade. The leak has led to several protests nationwide, including in Kentucky

Kentucky is one of several states with a trigger law that would virtually ban abortions if Roe is overturned.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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