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ACLU, Abortion clinics respond to temporary resumption of abortions, while Attorney General appeals

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Posted at 6:39 PM, Jun 30, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — There have been a lot of unanswered questions and movements pertaining to abortion in Kentucky, but on Thursday, the right to perform an abortion was temporarily restored for two Louisville clinics.

"The past several days have been incredibly confusing, things have been moving very quickly," said Amber Duke, Interim Executive Director for ACLU of Kentucky.

The ACLU of Kentucky and Planned Parenthood are considering Thursday's granting of a temporary restraining order, a victory.

"This is really a sort of a bridge that has put care back in place for now. We'll go to court on Wednesday to argue for a longer-term block," said Duke.

Days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade's federal protection of abortion rights, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit to keep the procedure legal in Kentucky.

They asked a Jefferson County judge to sign off on a temporary restraining order to put two Kentucky abortion laws on hold.

In a hearing on Wednesday, they argued that the state constitution's right to privacy protects a woman's right to choose.

The defense disagreed, saying the state constitution does not protect abortion and the assistant state attorney general argued the case should be thrown out in part because no pregnant women joined the suit.

The judge sided with planned parenthood and the ACLU, issuing a temporary restraining order that will allow abortions in Kentucky until both sides return to court next week.

RNC National Spokesperson Paris Dennard says anti-abortion advocates will continue to fight at the state level, as intended.

"Each state is determining what is best based upon people who have been elected to serve and so we believe at the RNC that the people of Kentucky through their vote are going to and have elect people who represent their values and going to make the best decision for the people of Kentucky," said Dennard.

LEX 18 attempted to ask Attorney General Daniel Cameron about this at a black business event in Lexington, but he did not take questions.

Instead, we received this statement saying he would be seeking relief from the order:

"In the wake of an historic victory for life at the nation's highest court, today, one judge in Kentucky has, without basis in the Kentucky Constitution, allowed two clinics to resume abortions. We cannot let the same mistake that happened in Roe v. Wade, nearly 50 years ago, to be made again in Kentucky. We will be seeking relief from this order.

The U.S. Supreme Court made it abundantly clear in Dobbs that decisions about the protection of life should be decided by the states and the people through their representatives. Our General Assembly clearly expressed Kentucky's support for life by passing the Human Life Protection Act with bipartisan support. We will do everything possible to continue defending this law and to ensure that unborn life is protected in the Commonwealth."

Attorney General Daniel Cameron asked the Kentucky Court of Appeals to stay the decision.

"This order is not something that the Attorney General can appeal. So, I don't know what he needs in terms of seeking relief, you'd have to ask directly," said Duke when asked about the state's response.

Both sides are due back in court on Wednesday, but in the meantime, at least one of the clinics, EMW, is offering abortion services as early as Friday morning.

The ACLU of Kentucky says since the Supreme Court's ruling on abortions last Friday, state providers have turned away 199 people for previously scheduled appointments. There were 14 patients in the EMW clinic when the ruling came down.

The argument over Kentucky's constitution continues again in November when voters will decide whether to add Amendment 2 "To protect human life, nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion." to the constitution.