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Can Kentucky's abortion providers resume the procedures without risking criminal penalties? The AG and Planned Parenthood disagree

Bruce Schreiner/AP
Abortion-rights supporters chant their objections at the Kentucky Capitol on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, in Frankfort, Ky., as Kentucky lawmakers debate overriding the governor’s veto of an abortion measure. The bill would put new restrictions on abortion, including banning the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy. (AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner)

Kentucky’s attorney general is arguing enforcement of a sweeping new anti-abortion rights bill need not be put on hold. But abortion providers say they can’t immediately comply with the list of new requirements.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, says there is no need for a federal judge to put a temporary hold on the provisions of House Bill 3, a wide-ranging law that abortion providers claim amounts to an effective ban on the practice in the state.

Abortion rights advocates have asked that a judge pause enforcement of the bill. Kentucky state director of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Tamara Weider told Spectrum News that right now the filing requirements in the bill make it impossible to operate.

"For us to be in compliance with the law, we would need to be able to fill out all of these new forms and go through these new certification processes and have the state certify us under these new forms as well. None of this exists. None of the processes exist."
Tamara Weider, Kentucky state director of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates

Cameron counters that the providers aren’t under any legal requirement to comply with a monitoring system that doesn’t exist yet — and those rules will only take effect once the system is created.

But clinics have halted abortions out of caution, as providers worry that continuing with the procedures is too risky and could make them subject to criminal penalties.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.