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Federal judge's order clears the way for abortions to resume in Kentucky, according to clinic attorney

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)

With Kentucky’s new wide-reaching abortion law now put on hold by a federal judge, an attorney representing one of the state’s two remaining abortion providers says the clinics can begin offering the procedure again. But the ruling merely puts providers in a holding pattern while the matter is litigated.

Kentucky’s abortion providers had paused abortions, fearing their inability to meet the law’s many new requirements immediately could put them in legal jeopardy — an argument Attorney General Daniel Cameron had dismissed.

Protests followed, including one on Thursday outside Louisville’s Metro Hall, which in turn attracted counter protesters.

While abortion rights backers applauded the decision to halt enforcement, they noted the ruling is just temporary and does not touch on the constitutionality of the law. For now, however, activists see it as a win.

"Abortion remains legal and is once again available in Kentucky," Heather Gatnarek, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, told the Courier Journal. "We will always fight to keep it that way here and across the country."

Meanwhile, anti-abortion rights advocates blamed the an overreaching court system.

“This activist ruling is about putting pro-abortion politics above the law,” said David Walls, Executive Director of The Family Foundation. “By refusing to comply with HB 3’s commonsense protections and immediately running to court, abortion advocates have once again revealed they do not really care about women and only desire to further profit off the slaughter of babies in the womb."

The Kentucky court battle emerges as a larger question looms at the federal level.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule this summer on a 15-week abortion ban out of Mississippi, one that Kentucky lawmakers have also entered into the books in the hopes a favorable high court ruling could prevent a court fight over the same language.

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.