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Judge denies Attorney General request to unblock Kentucky abortion law during appeal

Abortion rights protesters in downtown Louisville on May 4, 2020.
Abortion rights protesters in downtown Louisville on May 4, 2020.

Abortion access remains unchanged in Kentucky, even after legislators passed a measure to limit the procedure. A federal case brought against the state resulted in a partial block on the new law while the lawsuit moves forward. 

In mid April, the Kentucky legislature passed the more than 70-page measure, which makes it harder for minors to get abortions, restricts abortion medication and bans abortion at 15 weeks. 

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU challenged the law, saying they couldn't comply with new regulations not yet in place. The ACLU, on behalf of EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, also challenged the constitutionality of the 15-week ban. 

District Judge Rebecca Grady Jenningsissued a preliminary injunction, blocking parts of the law. That followed two successive temporary restraining orders. For the week that the new law was fully in effect, EMW and Planned Parenthood stopped providing abortions in Kentucky. 

Attorney General Daniel Cameron has started the appeals process, and asked the judge to stay her preliminary injunction pending that appeal. One of the reasons for the request, he said in his motion, was that the court didn’t give him a fair chance to respond before issuing the preliminary injunction. 

The judge denied that request, writing in her order that the state had multiple opportunities to respond at different phases of the case. 

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

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