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Woman drops class-action lawsuit challenging Kentucky abortion laws

Executive director Amber Duke of the ACLU of Kentucky stands in front of a podium that reads 'ACLU Kentucky.' Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Kentucky's Planned Parenthood affiliate, stands beside her. A pink Planned Parenthood sign on a wall behind them reads: 'Don't take away our care.'
Morgan Watkins
Louisville Public Media
Executive Director Amber Duke of the ACLU of Kentucky and Rebecca Gibron, CEO of Kentucky's Planned Parenthood affiliate, spoke at a press conference earlier this month. The ACLU represented Jane Doe in court.

A Kentucky woman has dropped a recently filed class-action lawsuit challenging two of Kentucky’s strictest abortion regulations.

The lawsuit was filed in early December by a pregnant woman, listed as Jane Doe, and Planned Parenthood, who argued the state’s trigger ban on abortion and six week ban violated her constitutional rights. The ACLU and the ACLU of Kentucky represented the plaintiffs in court.

It was the first such lawsuit filed since Kentucky's abortion restrictions went into effect last year following the United States Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.

This week's notice of voluntary dismissal comes after the ACLU reported that the woman, who was around eight weeks pregnant when she challenged the laws, learned that the embryo “no longer had any cardiac activity,” according to a news release.

At that time, ACLU spokespeople did not say whether Doe had been confirmed to have had a miscarriage, and welcomed others to join the class-action suit.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, issued an advisory last October saying the state’s near-total abortion ban does not apply in cases of miscarriage.

The lawsuit came after a similar case brought by the state’s two abortion providers was dismissed earlier this year, when the state Supreme Court ruled they lacked the standing to bring the case. The court left open the possibility for a resident to challenge the law, which is what Jane Doe did in the lawsuit before it was dropped.

In a joint statement Monday, the ACLU, ACLU Kentucky, regional Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood Federation of America encouraged others who are currently pregnant and interested in bringing a case to reach out.

“The Kentucky Supreme Court's decision earlier this year to take away health care providers’ ability to raise the rights of their patients has backed Kentuckians into a corner,” the statement read, in part. “The court’s decision has forced Kentuckians seeking [an] abortion to bring a lawsuit while in the middle of seeking time-sensitive health care, a daunting feat, and one that should not be necessary to reclaim the fundamental right to control their own bodies. But we won't stop fighting.”

This story has been updated with additional information. 

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