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Kentucky Ag Cameron renews appeal of blocked abortion law

Kate Howard

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has filed a petition for a state court of appeals to rehear a twice struck down law banning dilation and evacuation abortions after 11 weeks — a common procedure in the second trimester.

The U.S. Supreme Court granted him the power to do so just over a month ago.

In 2018, then-Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed the bill into law. The ACLU and EMW Women’s Surgical Center, one of two abortion providers in the state, filed a federal lawsuit soon after, arguing the law wasn’t constitutional.

U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. struck down the law in May 2019, saying in his ruling that it would have created a “substantial obstacle” to a person seeking an abortion in Kentucky.

Bevin appealed the ruling with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, but that court upheld the lower court’s decision.

Once in office, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear declined to pursue the case. Last month, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that Cameron can step in to defend the law.

“We will fight for as long as it takes to ensure this important law is enforced in Kentucky,” Cameron wrote in a news release Tuesday.

The law allows an exception in the case of a medical emergency.

The move comes as the general assembly moves to restrict abortions through other avenues. The Republican-led legislature voted last week to pass a 70-plus page bill that would make it harder for minors to get abortions, restrict medication abortion and ban the procedure after 15 weeks.

That measure has been delivered to Beshear, who still has several days to take action. If he vetoes it, the legislature can still override that move when they return next week.

In November, Kentucky voters will also have the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that could remove protections for abortion in the state.
Copyright 2022 WKU Public Radio. To see more, visit WKU Public Radio.

Aprile Rickert is WFPL's health reporter.