Pro-life groups celebrated last week after plaintiffs challenging Kentucky’s near-total abortion ban filed to dismiss the suit.
The suit, filed on behalf of Kentucky abortion providers, claimed two laws that effectively ban or limit elective abortions in Kentucky violate the constitutional rights of their patients. The so-called trigger law, passed in 2019, bans abortion in Kentucky (it was triggered after Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022). Kentucky’s “heartbeat law” bans abortion after a heartbeat is detected. Both include exceptions for the life and health of the mother.
The Kentucky Supreme Court decided in February that the plaintiffs lacked the standing to challenge the laws.
While the dismissal is welcome news, the challenges likely aren’t over, said Jason Hall, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Kentucky.
“For the time being, Kentucky laws protecting the unborn remain in effect. We are very grateful,” he said. “That case for now is over and the law stands. But it was dismissed without prejudice, which means a year from now, they (opponents of the ban) could find a plaintiff, a pregnant woman who was negatively impacted by the law” to challenge it.
In the meantime, Hall encouraged Catholics to pray about another issue — the potential expansion of abortion access in nearby Ohio.
The Catholic conference is watching a proposed ballot measure in Ohio. If it goes on the ballot and is approved, the measure would amend the Ohio constitution to assure “reproductive freedom,” including abortion up to the point of fetal viability.
“If that happens, we would have abortion available deep into pregnancy… in Cincinnati,” said Hall. “The next big thing to pray about is that amendment in Ohio. That would have huge significance for the protection on unborn children in Kentucky.”