LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Abortion is “for all intents and purposes over” in Kentucky following Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and returning regulation of the issue to the states, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said.
Cameron, a Republican who is Kentucky’s chief law enforcement officer, said in a news conference Friday that Kentucky’s 2019 “trigger law” has taken effect. The law makes an exception for situations in which the life of the mother is at risk, but does not allow abortion for the victims of rape or incest, Cameron said.
Cameron called for more “life-affirming options” in the state, such as "staff(ing) up" adoption agencies.
"Let us also ... open our hearts and extend our arms to those who feel forgotten, those who think they have no options and no support," Cameron said.
In written guidance issued Friday, Cameron's office said the only exception to Kentucky's abortion ban is a situation in which a physician deems it necessary "to prevent a pregnant mother’s death, substantial risk of death due to a physical condition, or a serious, permanent impairment to a life-sustaining organ."
Cameron said the trigger law also outlaws medication abortion but not the Plan B “morning after” pill or other contraceptives. In the written guidance, Cameron's office said the law still allows "the proper use of contraceptives to prevent pregnancy or before a pregnancy can be determined through conventional medical testing."
There were 4,104 abortions in Kentucky in 2020, according to the state's most recent annual report.
The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion, and the 1992 decision affirming Roe, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.
Kentucky’s two remaining abortion clinics, both in Louisville, said they suspended abortions because state officials hadn’t written guidelines on how to comply with the new law. EMW Women’s Surgical Center in downtown Louisville, which provides the vast majority of abortions in the state, canceled about 20 appointments on Friday.
Kentucky’s 2019 trigger law contains a narrow exception allowing abortion to prevent the death or permanent injury of a pregnant woman. Kentuckians will also vote this November on a proposed state constitutional amendment declaring there is no right to an abortion.
Meanwhile in Indiana, Friday’s decision brought no immediate change, but Gov. Eric Holcomb said new abortion restrictions will be on the table when the legislature convenes a special session on July 6.
Some Indiana lawmakers have expressed interest in adopting a law that bans abortions at the point when a medical practitioner can discern a fetal heartbeat. That’s usually around six weeks, when many women don’t even know they are pregnant.
Copyright 2022. WDRB Media. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.