Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Kentucky’s Restrictive Abortion Law

A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a Kentucky law which would have placed severe restrictions on abortion. It allowed the two remaining clinics in the state, at the moment, to continue providing abortion services to clients.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings is being seen as a victory — albeit potentially a short-lived one — for abortion rights in the state.

The Republican-run Kentucky legislature passed a law earlier this month that banned abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a timeframe during which individuals are often unaware they’re pregnant. The law also placed restrictions on abortion clinics and required reporting. the two clinics in the state couldn’t immediately comply with.

Gov. Andy Beshear (D), vetoed HB 3. The legislature overrode his objections last week and passed the measure into law.

Jennings is a Trump-appointed federal judge did not rule on the constitutionality of the law — she said she would make a decision on that matter during a separate hearing in the future — but she did place a temporary block on the law, saying that it had been passed too quickly and that it didn’t allow abortion clinics to respond to the new regulations in a timely fashion.

“The plain language of HB 3 is clear that the entire law became effective and enforceable on April 13, 2022,” Jennings said in her ruling. She added:

The court finds that, based on HB 3’s plain text, the Kentucky legislature intended that the entire law be immediately effective. [the state]Created a means of compliance

Opponents of the bill lauded the judge’s ruling, noting that the regulations were never about strengthening oversight of abortionsIt is not about changing the rules to make it difficult for clinics to comply, as its defenders claim.

“Abortion remains legal and is once again available in Kentucky,” said Heather GatnarekStaff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. “We will always fight to keep it that way here and across the country.”

For several months, the law will be under discussion in the federal courts. However, there’s a strong possibility that Jennings’s ruling could be rendered moot, depending on how the Supreme Court rules on abortion later this year.

Kentucky is one of many states that has this practice. has a “trigger” law in placeIf the Court reverses, it would make abortion illegal. Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that recognized the right to abortion throughout the entire U.S. During hearings last winter, the Supreme Court’s conservative justices They indicated that they would be willing to remove or severely curtail federal abortion protections.

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