Kentucky's abortion ban temporarily blocked by federal judge
Frankfort, Kentucky - A federal judge on Thursday temporarily blocked the Kentucky law that effectively banned abortions in the state.
US District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings gave abortion rights advocates a win on Thursday when she temporarily blocked a new state law.
The law would make abortion after 15 weeks illegal. It also stipulated new reporting requirements, with which Kentucky clinics said they could not immediately comply and so forced them to stop offering abortions altogether.
House Bill 3, was passed by the state legislature in March. Kentucky's Democratic Governor Andy Beshear then vetoed it, but his veto was overridden last Wednesday by both GOP led houses. Abortion rights advocated immediately filed lawsuits to block the law from coming into effect.
Their lawsuit claimed that clinics would be unable to comply because the state hasn't yet set up clear guidelines.
As multiple news agencies reported, noncompliance could result in felony penalties and fines.
"Only the first step"
Judge Jennings's decision to block did not address the larger issue of the new law's constitutionality.
Instead, her decision focused on the clinic's claims that they would be unable to comply. As NPR reported, Jennings said she decided to block the entire law because she didn't have information "to specifically determine which individual provisions and subsections are capable of compliance."
"This is a win, but it is only the first step," said Rebecca Gibron of Planned Parenthood said in a statement. "We’re prepared to fight for our patients' right to basic health in court and to continue doing everything in our power in ensure abortion access is permanently secured in Kentucky."
One of the clinics that had to stop providing abortion care last week said it will resume its work.
Cover photo: 123rf/ dmitriismirnov