LEXINGTON, KY (FOX 56) – A leak from the nation’s highest court in May showed a majority of supreme court justices favoring overturning, the 1973 landmark case, Roe v. Wade. On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision, striking down Roe v. Wade. What does this mean for Kentucky?
Kentucky’s Trigger Laws
Kentucky is one of 13 states with “trigger” laws that ban abortion in the event of Roe v. Wade is struck down. Not all of those trigger laws go into effect immediately, but in three states they do: Louisiana, South Dakota, and Kentucky, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.
The decision of whether to allow abortion access now falls to individual states. Among those states poised to criminalize the act of providing abortion are: Kentucky, Louisiana, South Dakota, Idaho, Tennessee, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.
Exemptions vary by state and include cases in which pregnancy has been a result of rape or incest; whether there is a danger to the pregnant person’s life; or in cases in which medical treatment unintentionally leads to a terminated pregnancy.
For Kentuckians, abortions will only be attainable to “prevent the death or substantial risk of death … or to prevent the serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman,” according to Kentucky House Bill 3. This bill does not include any exceptions or exclusions’ for rape or incest.
Kentucky’s only abortion clinic, in Louisville, has now stopped providing abortion services and is working with the ACLU of Kentucky to pursue legal action, said the ACLU of Kentucky in a news release.
Coming legal action in Kentucky
“Whatever shifting barriers anti-abortion judges and politicians put before us, we will never stop fighting for people’s ability to make their own reproduction health care decisions, including whether and when to become parents,” said Heather Gatnarek, ACLU of Kentucky staff attorney, in a news release. “No one should have the decision to remain pregnant forced upon them, which is what anti-abortion politicians seek to do.”
While pro-abortion activists prepare to continue their fight, leaders in the anti-abortion movement are now celebrating.
“Today is a day that many have hoped for—the issue of abortion has been returned to the people and to the states, where it belongs. This moment deserves to be celebrated, but it also calls for renewed commitment. Renewed commitment to life-affirming care for the unborn, for mothers, and for Kentucky families,” said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
“We are entering a new era. No longer will unelected judges make abortion policy for the Commonwealth. Instead, our elected representatives will be able to make public policy that reflects the values of Kentuckians and our deeply held respect for unborn life,” he said in a statement.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, however, does not agree with the state’s new law. Beshear tweeted a statement that says: “Today’s decision triggers an extremist Kentucky law that creates a total ban in Kentucky that will eliminate all options for victims of rape or incest. As the former chief prosecutor of Kentucky, I know that these violent crimes happen, and not having options for victims of rape and incest is wrong.”