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Kentucky’s abortion battle moves to the state Supreme Court Tuesday

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)

In the midterm elections, Kentucky voters said no to Amendment 2, which would have added language to the state constitution making it more difficult to challenge abortion restrictions. It would have also thrown a wrench into abortion rights advocates’ legal arguments ahead of a state Supreme Court case set to start Tuesday. Now, that case will move ahead as expected.

It deals with the trigger law that was passed by state legislators earlier this year, which went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. It outlaws abortion in all but life-threatening cases after six weeks of pregnancy.

Sam Crankshaw with the ACLU says that vote sends a strong message from Kentuckians.

“In a prior opinion the Kentucky Supreme Court Justices indicated that they wanted the voters to have a chance to weigh in on this issue. Voters did weigh in on election-day and they gave a pretty resounding no to these complete abortion bans that don’t even have exceptions for rape or incest. So we are hopeful that after our arguments that Kentucky voters will have some sort of positive sway on the future here.”
Sam Crankshaw, ACLU

David Walls is the Executive Director of the Family Foundation of Kentucky. He believes the arguments made by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and his team and the latest decision at the lower court level which on appeal allowed the trigger law to stay in effect should stand.

“And so really the question is, is it legitimate for the General Assembly to be able to pass laws to protect unborn life and we certainly believe that is not just morally the right thing to do, but it is constitutionally allowed.” Walls continued, “And it would be an egregious overreach for any court decision that would seek to take away the authority of our lawmakers to make laws that protect life.”

Each side will have 30-minutes to present their case beginning at 10:00 followed by questions from justices. The hearing is closed to the public with the exception of a small invited pool. Regardless of the decision rendered by the Kentucky Supreme Court, the battle could continue in the state’s lower courts.