By DYLAN LOVAN Associated Press
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (AP) — A Kentucky judge granted an injunction Friday preventing the state’s near-total abortion ban from going into effect, meaning the state’s two clinics can continue providing abortions, for now.
The ruling by Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry says there is “a substantial likelihood” that Kentucky’s new abortion law violates “the rights to privacy and self-determination” protected by the Kentucky constitution.
The court order issued in Louisville allows the only two clinics in the state to continue providing abortions while the case is litigated.
Kentucky’s trigger law was meant to ban abortions as soon as the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. wade but perry issued a restraining order in June the blocking of the ban. Its ruling means that of the 13 states with activation bans, five are in place.
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Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican running for governor, said he was disappointed in the ruling and will appeal it to the state appeals court.
“The judge’s suggestion that the Kentucky constitution includes abortion rights is not based on the text or history of the document that governs our state,” Cameron said in a prepared statement. “We will continue our strong defense of these bipartisan laws that represent the Commonwealth’s commitment to the lives of the unborn.”
Kentucky’s activation law contains a limited exception that allows a doctor to perform an abortion if it is necessary to prevent death or permanent injury to the pregnant woman. Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, denounced that law as “extremist,” saying it lacks exceptions for rape and incest.
Thirteen states have created activation bans, and of those, at least five are currently in effect: Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Five will not go into effect yet: Idaho, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. The remaining three, in Kentucky, Louisiana and Utah, are not in effect due to litigation.
In all, about half of US states are likely to have strict bans or restrictions as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.
Perry, the Kentucky judge, held a hearing on July 6 to hear the arguments on the precautionary measure. A doctor who performs abortions at one of the clinics cited statistics that she said showed pregnancy can be more dangerous to a mother’s health than abortion.
Perry also wrote in his ruling that the trigger ban is “a possibly unconstitutional delegation of authority” as it rested with another “jurisdictional body”: the US Supreme Court.
Kentucky residents will vote in November on a constitutional amendment that would ensure there are no state constitutional protections for abortion.
In Louisiana, another state with a court-challenged trigger ban, a state judge on Thursday blocked enforcement of his abortion ban. On Friday, state officials asked the same judge to stay his own ruling while they appealed. Judge Donald Johnson’s preliminary injunction meant clinics in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and New Orleans could perform abortions while the lawsuit continues.
This story corrects the reason why the Texas activation ban has not yet gone into effect in paragraph 8.
Associated Press writers Kevin McGill contributed from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Geoff Mulvihill from Philadelphia.
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