Kentucky Supreme Court Lets Abortion Bans Stand While the Case Continues

By a vote of 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent, voters in Kentucky last November rejected a constitutional amendment that declared there was no right to abortion.

Governor Matt Bevin signed the heartbeat bill and the Human Life Protection Act into law in 2019. The latter was triggered after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned of Roe v. Wade in 2022.

Abortion is allowed to save the mother’s life or to “prevent serious, permanent impairment” of the pregnant woman, but providers can’t administer, prescribe, or sell abortion drugs to pregnant women or use other means to kill their unborn babies.

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers challenged these laws. A lower court granted a temporary injunction. The Court of Appeals granted the attorney general’s request to dissolved the injunction. The attorney general transferred the appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court. This is how the court ruled (PDF):

We affirm the Court of Appeals’ holding that the circuit court abused its discretion by granting the abortion providers’ motion for a temporary injunction and remand to the circuit court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

How did the lower court abuse its discretion? The Kentucky Supreme Court contended the plaintiffs lacked third-party standing on behalf of patients but do have first-party standing to challenge the law on their own behalf. The court sent the case back to the lower court “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in the case, which stated “the eugenics-based abortion industry denies the fact that each human being has inherent value and dignity that is bestowed on them by their Creator. Instead, it leaves to government decisionmakers the determination of when or if human life has worth and value.”

Photo credit: American Life League (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

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