On again, off again abortion access in Kentucky have patients looking elsewhere

After a state Court of Appeals ruling Monday resuming the state ban on most abortions, doors remained closed at the state’s remaining abortion providers.
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:07 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The on again, off again availability of abortion services in Kentucky is creating stress and confusion.

After a state Court of Appeals ruling Monday resuming the state ban on most abortions, doors remained closed at the state’s remaining abortion providers.

Abortion rights supporters said patients are seeking abortions elsewhere.

“All of these sort of stops and starts in the law does not halt, obviously, the course of the pregnancy,” State Representative Nima Kulkarni said. “And so, it is becoming more urgent by the day that they are able to access care.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky recommends two websites for patients seeking out of state care.

One of them, abortionfinder.org, reported inquiries about Kentucky abortion laws and resources up 540 percent since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June.

“So Kentucky’s folks are using the site and trying to sort through the information,” Abortion Finder VP Jennifer Johnsen said, “and understand what’s available to them.”

Appeals Court Judge Larry Thompson’s reasoning for re-instating the abortion ban included the idea that “any abortions performed while the legal challenge works its way through the courts, cannot be undone.”

Abortion rights supporters appealed that decision the Kentucky Supreme Court.

These latest court decisions have focused on one question: Can abortion providers continue to stay in business while the primary legal fight continues over the constitutionality of abortion?

“Once that issue is resolved, then we’ll get about the business of actually deciding to a final resolution, the actual constitutionality of these laws,” UofL law professor Sam Marcosson said.

Marcosson said a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November, if passed, would declare no constitutional right to abortions in Kentucky.

This would override any court victory by abortion rights supporters.

“If that initiative is passed, then it will be established with great clarity that the constitution does not protect the right to abortion and the plaintiff’s lawsuit will, just by virtue of that vote, go away,” Marcosson said. “They will have lost essentially.”

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WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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