FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Abortion rights advocates in Kentucky are preparing to help women find and fund out-of-state abortions. They're putting the work in now as they fear abortion services will soon cease in the Commonwealth.
The Supreme Court of the United States is expected to decide on abortion rights any day now, and if the court reverses Roe v. Wade, abortion rights would be up to each individual state. In Kentucky, that means an immediate ban because of the trigger law state lawmakers passed in 2019.
And a leaked draft opinion shows the court may be gearing up to do that.
So, groups like the Kentucky Health Justice Network are preparing to help women if Roe falls.
"With trigger law states, we already know what's going to happen," said Erin Smith, the group's executive director.
"We are already operating as if we are post-Roe," they added.
Smith explains KHJN already has experience helping women travel out of state to get an abortion. Earlier this year, after a sweeping anti-abortion law was passed, Kentucky's two abortion providers suspended services. The groups claimed the new law made it impossible for them to operate.
Before a judge temporarily blocked the law, KHJN and other abortion-rights groups had to get patients to other states.
"We've done this before," said Smith.
"We will not stop," they added. "We will not stop helping people access abortions."
The group knows there will be logistical and monetary challenges with travel, but they want to ensure Kentuckians have access to abortion.
"As long as KHJN is around, we will continue to fight to make sure that not only people can access abortion, but have their needs met," said Smith. "And this is a need."
Because of that, Smith believes the battle for abortion rights will not end even if Roe falls.
"It's okay to mourn. It's okay to not be okay. But know that it is not over," said Smith.
"It's not a one-and-done," they added. "Any movement that has had setbacks never killed a movement. It just caused major setbacks."