Appeals court reinstates Kentucky’s near-total abortion ban

Abortion-rights supporters protesting at the Kentucky Capitol
Abortion-rights supporters demonstrate in April at the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort.
(Bruce Schreiner / Associated Press)

A Kentucky appeals court has reinstated a near-total abortion ban that took effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade.

The ruling means that most abortions are illegal in the state, for now.

Atty. Gen. Daniel Cameron asked the appellate court for an emergency stay, which blocked a lower court’s ruling. That ruling by a Louisville judge last month put two abortion bans on hold so that the courts could determine if they violate Kentucky’s constitution.


The state’s two clinics issued a media release Monday night declaring that “abortion is now banned in Kentucky” and said they began canceling scheduled procedures.

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The ruling will be appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

“Tonight, in one fateful moment, Kentuckians saw their reproductive freedom stolen by their elected officials,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “It is devastating and cruel. But the fight is not over.”

The appeals court said the ban should take effect, even if the laws are in dispute, because in Kentucky, “a statute carries with it the presumption of constitutionality.”

Kentucky’s Legislature passed a “trigger law” banning nearly all abortions, except when the health of the pregnant person is threatened, if Roe was overturned. Lawmakers passed a separate ban on abortions after about the sixth week of pregnancy, which the clinics also challenged.

The lower court judge, Mitch Perry, ruled July 22 that there is “a substantial likelihood” Kentucky’s new abortion laws violate “the rights to privacy and self-determination” protected by Kentucky’s constitution.