The Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the state’s abortion restrictions on Thursday.
In August, the state enacted two abortion laws, which included a ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
The second law, a trigger ban, contains an exception to “prevent the death or substantial risk of death due to a physical condition, or to prevent the serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman.” However, the physician is mandated to make “reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of the unborn human being in a manner consistent with reasonable medical practice[.]”
It also has a second exception if medical treatment rendered by a licensed physician “results in the accidental or unintentional injury or death to the unborn human being.”
The two abortion clinics in the state, Planned Parenthood and EMW Women’s Surgical Center were forced to stop providing the procedure after the laws were enacted.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to challenge the restrictions, which led to arguments before the state’s Supreme Court in November.
In the same month, voters in the state had rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have added a sentence to the state’s constitution, saying that “[t]o protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
In Thursday’s decision, the Supreme Court ruled that “we hold that the abortion providers lack third-party standing to challenge the statutes on behalf of their patients. Notwithstanding, the abortion providers have first-party, constitutional standing to challenge one of the statutes on their own behalf. We affirm the Court of Appeals’ holding that the circuit court abused its discretion by granting the abortion providers’ motion for a temporary injunction and remand to the circuit court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
“Application of well-established Kentucky precedent compels dismissal of the complaint without regard to the merits of the temporary injunction or the underlying constitutional challenge. Because Appellees have failed to establish either first-party or third-party standing for each of their claims, the entire case should be dismissed without prejudice,” the ruling added.