A state court judge in Kentucky has blocked two anti-abortion laws from going into effect in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s sweeping decision to strike down the constitutional right to abortion care.
A lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Kentucky and Planned Parenthood sought a restraining order to block two state laws passed in 2019 that the state’s attorney general threatened to enforce – a near-total ban on providing abortions and law that outlaws abortions at six weeks of pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant, roughly two weeks after a missed period.
The lawsuit argues that the measures violate the “rights to privacy, bodily autonomy and self-determination” provided by the state’s constitution.
A hearing in the case has been set for 6 July.
The decision on 30 June follows several restraining orders granted in states that enacted so-called “trigger” laws that outlaw nearly all abortions at all stages of pregnancy and criminalise care, designed to take effect at the Supreme Court’s ruling on 24 June to overturn a half-century-old precedent in Roe v Wade and its affirming decision in 1992’s Planned Parenthoodv Casey.
The landmark ruling determines that individual states, not the US Constitution, determines whether one has the right to abortion care. More than a dozen states have “trigger” laws in place, and Republican state legislators across the US are expected to pass additional severe restrictions on care.
Judges in Louisiana, Texas and Utah have also temporarily blocked “trigger” laws as lawsuits from abortion rights advocates and providers play out in state courts. Lawsuits have been filed in Florida, Idaho and Mississippi seeking similar relief.
“Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe last Friday, numerous Kentuckians have been forced to carry pregnancies against their will or flee their home state in search of essential care,” according to a joint statement from officials with Planned Parenthood organisations and the ACLU.
“Despite this victory, we know this fight is far from over – especially with politicians like Attorney General Daniel Cameron doing everything they can to score political points at the expense of Kentuckians’ wellbeing,” the statement reads. “We won’t stop fighting for people’s ability to access the essential abortion care they need in Kentucky. The government should never have the authority to force a person to remain pregnant against their will.”
Mr Cameron, Kentucky’s attorney general, said in a statement that the judgment on 30 June was made “without basis.”
“We will do everything possible to continue defending this law and to ensure that unborn life is protected,” he said.