What’s next for abortion in Kentucky?

EMW Women's Surgical Center in downtown Louisville is Kentucky's last abortion clinic. (Source:...
EMW Women's Surgical Center in downtown Louisville is Kentucky's last abortion clinic. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 10:21 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2022 at 10:22 AM CDT
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Kentucky (AP/WBKO) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion.

The ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. The Associated Press took a look at how the decision will impact Kentucky. You can read it below.

In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access.

The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted. Here is an overview of abortion legislation and the expected impact of the court’s decision in every state.

Political Landscape

In Kentucky, Republicans have a supermajority in the Kentucky Legislature and have been restricting abortion rights since the 2016 election over the vetoes of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who supports abortion rights and will seek a second term in 2023.

Current News on Abortion in KY

Kentucky bans abortions after 20 weeks, but all abortion services were temporarily halted in April after the legislature imposed new restrictions and reporting requirements on the state’s two abortion clinics.

The clinics, both in Louisville, said they suspended abortions because state officials hadn’t written guidelines on how to comply with the new law. Noncompliance could result in stiff fines, felony penalties, and revocation of physician and facility licenses.

Abortions resumed after a federal judge temporarily blocked key parts of the law, including a provision banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Effect of Supreme Court ruling

Because the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion services in Kentucky are immediately illegal under a “trigger law” enacted in 2019.

The measure contains a narrow exception allowing abortion to prevent the death or permanent injury of a pregnant woman.

Kentuckians will be able to vote this November on a proposed amendment declaring there is no right to an abortion in the state constitution.

What’s next in Kentucky?

Abortion-rights activists say the suspension of abortion services in April foreshadowed what would happen in Kentucky and other Republican-leaning states if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

It likely would end several legal challenges pending against other Kentucky abortion laws including a 2018 measure that abortion-rights supporters say would effectively ban a standard abortion method in the second trimester of pregnancy.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in March that Kentucky’s Republican attorney general, Daniel Cameron, can defend the measure that was struck down by lower courts.

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Associated Press statehouse reporters from across the U.S. contributed.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.