US NEWS Judge temporarily blocks Kentucky abortion law so that forced...

Judge temporarily blocks Kentucky abortion law so that forced state’s only 2 providers to shut down

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A federal judge on Thursday temporarily blocked a Kentucky abortion law so restrictive that it had forced the state’s only two providers to shut down.

The law, which had taken effect on April 13, effectively eliminated access to all abortion services, according to the Courier Journal. The two clinics said they would resume services immediately.

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US District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings granted a request from one of those providers for a temporary restraining order on grounds that the law had gone into effect so quickly that it deprived the facilities of the chance to comply with the new rules.

“The plain language of HB 3 is clear that the entire law became effective and enforceable on April 13, 2022,” Jennings’ opinion said of the law, House Bill 3.

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Abortion-rights supporters chant their objections at the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort on Wednesday. (Bruce Schreiner/AP)

She noted that she was not ruling on the constitutionality of the law, but will consider that aspect when she decides whether to block the law’s enforcement.

The Republican-dominated state legislature had passed the law in March and overrode Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of it last week.

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The law bans all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and requires a medical examination before a doctor can issue abortion pills. In addition, it lays down restrictions and reporting requirements that the clinics could not pivot to comply with. Fines and felony charges, as well as the threat of lost licenses, effectively meant that the clinics could not operate, they said.

“This is a win, but it is only the first step,” Rebecca Gibron, the CEO for Planned Parenthood in Kentucky, told The Associated Press. “We’re prepared to fight for our patients’ right to basic health in court and to continue doing everything in our power in ensure abortion access is permanently secured in Kentucky.”

State Rep.  Randy Bridges (R-Paducah) gives a thumbs down as protesters chant "Bans off our bodies" at the Kentucky state Capitol on Wednesday.
State Rep. Randy Bridges (R-Paducah) gives a thumbs down as protesters chant “Bans off our bodies” at the Kentucky state Capitol on Wednesday. (Ryan C. Hermens/AP)

State Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, said he would work make the law stick.

“We are disappointed that the court chose to temporarily halt enforcement of the entire law,” he said in a statement. “This law is constitutional, and we look forward to continuing to defend it.”

With News Wire Services

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