EMW Women's Surgical Center

The EMW Women's Surgical Center is the only abortion clinic in Kentucky.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a Kentucky law that would ban most abortions in the commonwealth after 11 weeks.

House Bill 454, referred to by its supporters as Kentucky's Live Dismemberment Abortion Law, easily passed the General Assembly in 2018 and was signed into law by former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. It was never enforced, however, because the EMW Women's Surgical Center in downtown Louisville and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the bill, which would ban a procedure called dilation and extraction (D&E). A federal appeals court ultimately struck down the law in 2019. 

Opponents of D&E say the procedure, which usually performed in the second trimester, dismembers the fetus. House Bill 454 graphically describes dilation and extraction as, "a procedure in which a person, with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, dismembers the living unborn child and extracts portions, pieces or limbs of the unborn child from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or a similar instrument that, through the convergence of two (2) rigid levers, slices, cruses, or grasps, or performs any combination of those actions on, any portion, piece, or limb of the unborn child's body to cut or separate the portion, piece, or limb of the unborn child's body to cut or separate the portion, piece of limb from the body."

"The term includes a procedure that is used to cause the death of an unborn child and in which suction is subsequently used portions, pieces or limbs of the unborn child after the unborn child's death," the law states.

When he struck down the law in 2019, U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley Jr. ruled the bill is a "violation of a woman's Fourteenth Amendment rights to privacy and bodily integrity." 

"Today's ruling affirms that health, not politics, will guide important medical decisions about pregnancy," Alexia Kolbi-Molinas, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement at the time. "Laws like this are part of an orchestrated national strategy by anti-abortion politicians to push abortion out of reach entirely. Today's decision holds -- in no uncertain terms -- that Kentuckians and the care they need come first."

Cameron's appeal of McKinley's decision comes after the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, giving conservatives a 6-3 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The passage of House Bill 454 by the General Assembly represents Kentucky's profound respect for the dignity of human life, and I will pursue every means available to make sure this important law is upheld," Cameron said in a statement on Friday. "We've fought to defend this law since our first day in office, and now, I'm asking our nation's highest court to consider it."

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