When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, decisions regarding abortion rights were ostensibly left to individual states. One judge in Kentucky, however, recently determined that the state’s ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy should not be allowed to remain in effect.
Kentucky was one of the 13 states with laws on the books that were set to be enacted if and when federal abortion protections were repealed. In total, nearly half of all U.S. states were prepared to ban or heavily restrict most abortions upon the repeal of the 1973 decision that enshrined abortion rights at the federal level.
Judge Mitch Perry handed down a ruling last month that temporarily blocked the Kentucky ban – and he extended that order even further on Friday.
Unsurprisingly, pro-abortion activists and groups celebrated the judge’s decision. Perry based his ruling on his interpretation that the state constitution includes a right to abortion.
One Planned Parenthood spokesperson claimed that “the courts have rightly stopped Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s relentless efforts to ban abortion, which would have devastating consequences for Kentuckians.”
Kentucky’s Republican attorney general had a much different reaction.
Cameron vowed to appeal the judge’s decision and asserted that the “suggestion that Kentucky’s constitution contains a right to abortion is not grounded in the text and history of our state’s governing document.”
Another point of contention within Perry’s ruling is the belief that “abortion is a form of health care.”
The judge ruled that since abortions are “provided by licensed medical professionals in licensed medical facilities, just like many other medical procedures,” it should be protected as such.
Similar efforts are underway in courts elsewhere across the United States, including Louisiana. A judge in that state issued a ruling on Thursday that sought to allow abortionists to continue performing the procedure despite a so-called trigger law that went into effect after the Supreme Court decision and banned most abortions in the state.
Judge Donald Johnson cited “vagueness” in the language of the Louisiana abortion ban and instructed litigants on both sides of the issue to spend the next 30 days preparing for a trial. Proponents of the ban are expected to appeal and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry indicated that the case will probably be decided at the state Supreme Court level.