ACLU files immediate lawsuit against Kentucky’s abortion ban

Individuals hold a banner at the Kentucky Statehouse after the state legislature overruled HB 3’s veto.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal application legal action Thursday morning to challenge a new abortion ban in Kentucky just hours after the law went into effect Wednesday night. The Republican-led Kentucky General Assembly overruled Gov. Andy Beshears (D) Veto the Omnibus Act, which had an immediate and profound impact on abortion rights in the bluegrass state.

Kentucky’s house bill 3 bans all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, bans the distribution of abortion pills through the mail, raises standards for minors seeking abortions, and creates new certification and oversight standards for tracking the details of abortions performed within the state. It also requires fetal remains to be cremated or buried after an abortion (a complex and costly procedure for clinics) and bans telemedicine visits for medical abortions. In addition, it instructs the State Medical Association to revoke the license to practice medicine from any doctor who violates the law.

The bill provides an exception when an abortion is necessary to protect a woman’s own life, but no exception for cases of rape or incest.

The draft law not only contains unusually restrictive measures, but also implements them “in an emergency”. The emergency designation means the bill went into effect immediately after Beshear’s veto was overridden by lawmakers.

The ACLU has done well earlier promise to challenge the law in court, demanding an immediate injunction.

“The government should never have the power to force a person to remain pregnant against their will,” the ACLU tweeted. “To the extreme politicians who banned abortion: see you in court.”

In the lawsuit filed in federal district court in Kentucky, the ACLU sought an injunction that would block the enactment of the law until the underlying constitutionality of the legislation can be determined by a court. The case argues that HB 3 violates women’s constitutional rights by placing undue burdens on their fundamental right to access an abortion.

The 11-page complaint explains:

The law forced plaintiffs to turn away patients who needed an abortion and to indefinitely suspend the provision of those services. Unless urgent relief is provided in Kentucky to restore access to abortion, the consequences will be devastating: Patients will be forced to attempt to travel out of state for treatment if they are able to scrape together the resources, or they will be forced to remain pregnant against their will.

Bridget Amirisaid the associate director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project in a Explanation that “HB 3 would completely and immediately eliminate access to abortion in Kentucky, piling up a laundry list of unnecessary abortion restrictions that are impossible for providers to comply with because the Commonwealth has not yet established mechanisms to enforce the law.”

Amiri further argued that ethnic minorities, those on low incomes and people living in rural areas would be particularly disadvantaged if the law is not blocked immediately.

“The reality is that unless the law is blocked, some pregnant people in Kentucky will be forced to remain pregnant, which will cause great physical, emotional and financial costs to them and their existing families,” Amiri said.

Planned Parenthood says it will file a separate lawsuit that will also challenge HB 3.

“These unnecessary requirements would force providers to stop abortions in KY immediately. Everyone should have the right to control their own life and body — that includes abortion,” Planned Parenthood tweeted after the veto override.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky have one Explanation Wednesday which read:

Make no mistake: The Kentucky Legislature’s only goal with this law is to shut down health centers and completely eliminate access to abortion in the state. But we haven’t given up hope – we’re getting to work. Trust us when we say we will do everything in our power to prevent this insidious law from preventing Kentucky residents from accessing the vital, time-sensitive healthcare they need and deserve. We are confident that the courts will stop this cruel and unconstitutional omnibus. Everyone deserves to make their own decisions about their body, life and future.

The Kentucky legislature’s votes on HB 3 came just a day after the Oklahoma governor made his decision. Kevin Stitt (R) signed Senate Act 612 into the law. The Oklahoma Legislature goes into effect in August. SB 612 permits abortions only when necessary “to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.” The law also provides that anyone who performs an abortion is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

These harsh new measures, passed by Kentucky and Oklahoma, have been called unconstitutional restrictions on reproductive rights guaranteed by the United States Supreme Court Roe v. calf and then confirmed by Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.

[screengrab via WTVF]

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James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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