LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge on Thursday temporarily blocked a state law that effectively eliminated abortions in Kentucky after the state’s two remaining clinics said they couldn’t meet its requirements.
The two Louisville clinics had gone to court immediately after the law took effect, asking that the measure be put on hold while the case is litigated. Thursday’s decision was a victory for abortion rights advocates and a setback for the Republican-led legislature, which passed the law in March and then overrode Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of the measure last week.
The measure bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and requires women to be examined by a doctor before receiving abortion pills. It also contains new reporting requirements that the Kentucky clinics said they couldn’t immediately comply with. Noncompliance can result in stiff fines and felony penalties.
Supporters of the law say the goal is to protect women’s health and strengthen oversight. The law’s opponents say the objective all along was to stop abortions completely.
Kentucky is among the GOP-led states that have passed restrictive abortion laws in anticipation of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could reverse the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established a right to abortion nationwide nearly 50 years ago.
Pending before the high court is a challenge to a law passed in a fifth state, Mississippi, that bans abortion after 15 weeks. The court has indicated that it will allow Mississippi’s ban to stand and conservative justices have suggested they support overruling Roe.