Federal judge temporarily blocks Kentucky’s abortion ban

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings explained that she needed more information "to specifically determine which individual provisions and subsections are capable of compliance."

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A federal judge ruled to temporarily block Kentucky’s new anti-choice law keeping abortion legal for the next two weeks. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings explained that she needed more information “to specifically determine which individual provisions and subsections are capable of compliance.”

The bill put a 15-week abortion ban in place that imposed restrictions on medication abortion and forced the state’s two providers of the medical procedure to stop offering care. While the bill was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, state Republic lawmakers overrode the decision and HB3 went into effect immediately.

“Abortion remains legal and is once again available in Kentucky,” Heather Gatnarek, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Kentucky who represented one of the two clinics, said.

According to Common Dreams, Planned Parenthood, the national ACLU, and the ACLU of Kentucky filed a legal challenge “seeking a temporary restraining order against the new law, arguing that its authors made compliance impossible by design because the state has not yet issued concise guidelines.” The temporary block of the law for 14 days is what reproductive rights advocates are calling a win, but “it’s only the first step.”

“…this is a win but it is only a first step,” Rebecca Gibron, director of the six-state Planned Parenthood group that includes Kentucky, said. “We’re prepared to fight for our patients’ right to basic health in court and to continue doing everything in our power [to] ensure abortion access is permanently secured in Kentucky.”

In blocking HB3, the judge ruled that the state’s two clinics that offer abortions can continue to operate for the next two weeks since the “providers of legal abortion services cannot comply with HB3 until the Cabinet creates the required forms and promulgates the necessary regulations and HB3 includes no language excusing compliance during the 60-day promulgation period.”

“We will always fight to keep it that way here and across the country,” Gatnarek said.

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