Daniel Cameron Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Uphold Abortion Law

Nov 1, 2020

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron
Credit Kate Howard

Attorney General Daniel Cameron is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a Kentucky law that sought to ban a common abortion method. A lower court struck down the measure in 2019.

House Bill 454 would have banned the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure, the most common method used after the 11th week of pregnancy.

Gov. Matt Bevin signed the bill into law in 2018, but it never went into effect after the American Civil Liberties Union and EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville sued to block it.

In a statement, Cameron wrote that the bill shows Kentucky’s “profound respect for the dignity of human life.

“I will pursue every means available to make sure this important law is upheld,” Cameron wrote. “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.”

The Kentucky legislature has passed several anti-abortion laws since Republicans took control of the state House of Representatives in 2017.

Some of the measures have been blocked by federal courts, like the ban on the dilation and evacuation procedure and a bill banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Others remain in effect, like a ban on most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and a law requiring women seeking abortions to view an ultrasound image and listen to sound of the fetal heartbeat.

Healther Gatnarek, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Kentucky, said that Cameron’s request is part of a “shameless campaign to eliminate access to abortion care in the Commonwealth.”

“We will work to make sure this harmful and medically unjustified law remains blocked from enforcement,” Gatnarek wrote. “Abortion remains legal in Kentucky and you can still seek abortion care in the Commonwealth. The ACLU of Kentucky will do everything in our power to make sure it stays that way.”

House Speaker David Osborne, a Republican from Prospect, said he appreciates Cameron’s efforts defending the dilation and evacuation ban.

“The Kentucky General Assembly passed this measure at the will of the people with the intent to bring an end to a brutal and heinous practice,” Osborne wrote. “That was our intent in 2018 and remains our mission today.”

In 2019, U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley ruled that the law would create a substantial obstacle for women seeking abortions in Kentucky, violating constitutional rights.

“If the Act goes into effect, standard D&E abortions will no longer be performed in the Commonwealth due to ethical and legal concerns regarding compliance with the law,” McKinley wrote.

Cameron appealed the ruling, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the law earlier this year, saying that it “imposes substantial burdens on the right to choose.”

Cameron’s request for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case comes after the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, which cemented a conservative majority on the high court.

This story has been updated.