Lawyers challenging Kentucky abortion ban call for more plaintiffs

Lawyers challenging Kentucky abortion ban call for more plaintiffs

Lawyers challenging Kentucky abortion ban call for more plaintiffs By Reuters

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Published Dec 12, 2023 01:41PM ET
Updated Dec 12, 2023 02:22PM ET

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Women’s March activists hold signs outside the White House in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 9, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) – A Kentucky woman who filed a class action last week challenging the state’s near-total ban on abortion is no longer pregnant, her lawyers said Tuesday, calling for more plaintiffs to carry the case forward.

Lawyers for the woman at Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a statement that the woman learned her embryo no longer had cardiac activity after she filed the lawsuit on Friday.

ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project deputy director Brigitte Amiri, a lawyer for plaintiff Jane Doe, said in Tuesday’s statement that “patient-led challenges like Jane’s are our only path forward,” and she encouraged other pregnant Kentucky residents seeking abortion to contact the attorneys if they wished to join the case.

The news comes a day after Texas’s Supreme Court rejected a woman’s bid for a court order allowing her to get an emergency abortion under that state’s medical exception for life-threatening emergencies, saying she and her doctor had not made the case she qualified.

Planned Parenthood and Kentucky abortion clinics sued Kentucky over its ban last year, but the state’s Supreme Court earlier this year ruled that they could not sue on behalf of their patients. Last week’s lawsuit sought to get around that problem by having the pregnant plaintiff sue on behalf of a class of woman who are similarly situated.

The office of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Doe’s lawsuit, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, challenged two 2019 laws: a law banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, around six weeks and before many women know they are pregnant, and a ban on abortion at any time. The latter was passed as a so-called trigger law that took effect automatically when the U.S. Supreme Court last year overturned its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which had guaranteed abortion rights nationwide.

Both laws contain only narrow exceptions to save the mother’s life or prevent severe injury to the mother. They do not have exceptions for rape, incest or for fatal fetal anomalies.

The lawsuit claims the laws violate the Kentucky state constitution’s right to liberty, which it says includes a right to privacy.

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe, 18 Republican-led states have banned or significantly restricted abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

Lawyers challenging Kentucky abortion ban call for more plaintiffs

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