After Kentucky’s elected legislators effectively eliminated abortion in that state, were vetoed by a Democratic governor and then came back to eliminate it again even more strongly, a federal judge has stepped in to keep the practice alive a while longer.
U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings on April 21 handed a victory to abortion supporters, temporarily blocking a new state law after Kentucky’s two remaining abortion clinics said they couldn’t meet the requirements. One of the clinics said the same day that it would resume abortions immediately, reports NPR.
Democratic governor Andy Beshear vetoed the measure last week but was overridden.
The new Kentucky law bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and requires an examination by a doctor before a woman can receive abortion drugs. It also sets up new reporting requirements, which were the focus of Jennings’ order. Noncompliance brings fines, and the clinics say the state hasn’t yet set up clear guidelines.
Appointed by former President Donald Trump, Jennings said she decided to block the entire law until such clarity is reached.
Abortion supporters said they were relieved by the ruling but noted the legal fight is not over.
“This is a win, but it is only the first step,” said Rebecca Gibron, CEO for Planned Parenthood in Kentucky, the clinic immediately resuming abortions.
Backers of the law say its goal is to protect women’s health and strengthen oversight. Opponents say the objective is to stop abortion in the state completely.
Kentucky is among several Republican-led states that have passed such restrictive abortion laws before the U.S. Supreme Court rules in a Mississippi case this summer that could reverse the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.