Gov. Matt Bevin's legal team says Kentucky's newest abortion law seeks to prevent a "barbaric" procedure while a fetus is still alive in the womb.
His lawyers filed a motion urging a federal judge to deny a preliminary injunction that would delay the law's enforcement.
The state's only abortion clinic is challenging the new abortion restrictions in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU claims access to abortions in Kentucky would be "extinguished" for pregnant women in their second trimester who are covered by the law.
A judge recently signed a joint consent order that temporarily put the law on hold.
Bevin's lawyers say the law doesn't create an undue burden for women seeking abortions and say the state has a "legitimate" interest to protect the unborn from a "gruesome" procedure.