abortion

J. Tyler Franklin

Republican state lawmakers plan to file an omnibus anti-abortion bill during the upcoming legislative session, making it harder for minors to get the procedure, creating more restrictions for abortion medication and setting requirements for disposing fetal tissue.

The bill will also include provision that would allow medical providers to refuse to perform procedures that “violate their conscience.”

Rep. Nancy Tate, a Republican from Brandenburg and a sponsor of the bill, said it will not include exceptions for women seeking abortions because of rape or incest.

“If there’s a human baby that’s created from that tragedy then the life of that human baby needs to be treated with dignity and respect as well,” Tate said.

The bill hasn’t been filed yet. Tate outlined the provisions in a legislative meeting on Wednesday.

Kyeland Jackson

The U.S Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday over whether Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron is allowed to defend a Kentucky abortion law that was struck down by a federal court.

The blocked law at the center of the case passed in 2018. It would ban a common abortion procedure called “dilation and evacuation.”.

Former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin defended the law until he lost reelection in 2019. The following year, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that struck down the law and Gov. Andy Beshear declined to continue defending the case.

Cameron is asking the high court to let him intervene. During the Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Matthew Kuhn argued Cameron’s office should be allowed to continue appealing the case.

Kate Howard

Staff with Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office will appear before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, arguing that he should have the right to defend an abortion law that has been struck down by lower courts.

At issue is a 2018 law passed by the Republican-led legislature that would have banned the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure—most commonly used for people seeking to end pregnancies in the second trimester.

A federal court struck it down in 2019, saying it would have created a “substantial obstacle” for Kentuckians seeking abortions.

Then-Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, appealed the ruling to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the court upheld the decision in 2020 and Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear declined to take the case any further.

Roberto Roldan | WFPL

Louisville Metro workers repainted the parallel yellow lines outside the doors to the downtown EMW Women’s Surgical Center to be more narrow Wednesday afternoon, a day after they initially marked out a new buffer zone where anti-abortion protesters will not be allowed to stand. 

Hours after the first installation, the lines were covered by gray paint, raising concerns of vandalism. However, city officials said they covered up the zone because it was improperly measured on Tuesday. 

The 10-foot buffer zone outside of the surgical center, one of only two abortion clinics in Kentucky, became possible after Metro Council approved a measure in late May. The work of marking out the buffer zone was put on hold when anti-abortion advocates and self-described sidewalk ministers sued the city in June. Then a federal judge ruled last week that the city could move forward with implementation while the lawsuit advances.

Kentucky Equal Justice Network

A federal judge has ruled that Louisville Metro Government can create a buffer zone in front of the downtown EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Kentucky’s only abortion clinic, while a lawsuit challenging the measure moves forward. 

Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky denied a motion for a preliminary injunction against the city last week. The motion was part of a lawsuit filed by the Louisville-based nonprofit Sisters for Life. In court filings, the group said it has operated a sidewalk ministry in front of the clinic since 2003, informing people entering about “other life choices available to them…other than abortion.” Louisville officials had previously agreed not to implement the 10-foot buffer zone until the court had ruled on the motion. 

In her ruling, Grady Jennings said the claims by Sisters for Life that the buffer zone “practically completely envelopes [sic] the entire city block” is a misreading of the ordinance Metro Council passed in May. She also dismissed the argument that the ordinance substantially burdens the group’s religious practice.

Just a quick walk through the parking lot of Choices-Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, in this legendary music mecca, speaks volumes about access to abortion in the American South. Parked alongside the polished SUVs and weathered sedans with Tennessee license plates are cars from Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida and, on many days, Alabama, Georgia and Texas.

Tony Gonzalez | WPLN News

The Tennessee House has approved a measure that would require tissue from abortions to be cremated or buried.

If the measure passes the state Senate, backers say Tennessee would be the 12th state to require mortuary services after an abortion.

Backers describe House Bill 1181/Senate Bill 828 as an attempt to give more dignity to aborted remains. In committee hearings, and before a 69-22 vote on the House floor Monday night, they’ve given often graphic descriptions of fetal remains being thrown out.

State Rep. Robin Smith, R-Hixson, says she came across fetal remains in the morgue while working as a hospital nurse.

“It’s not fetal tissue,” she said. “It’s dismembered children. … We’re going to treat them as they are — the created human that is pre-born.”

Updated April 14, 2021 at 4:26 PM ET

The Biden administration is moving to reverse a Trump-era family planning policy that critics describe as a domestic "gag rule" for reproductive healthcare providers.

Kyeland Jackson

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s request to defend Kentucky’s ban on a common abortion procedure, which was blocked by lower courts.

Former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed the state’s ban on dilation and evacuation abortions into law in 2018, but a federal court struck it down the following year, saying it would have created a “substantial obstacle” for Kentuckians seeking the procedure.

An appeals court upheld that ruling in 2020, but Cameron has sought to intervene in the case.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Andy Beshear has allowed the so-called “born alive” abortion bill to become law without his signature.

Senate Bill 9 will require doctors to provide life-saving care if a baby survives an abortion attempt, making it a felony if doctors refuse to.

Such situations are exceedingly rare and supporters haven’t documented any cases in Kentucky.

Kentucky law dictates that bills become law if a governor doesn’t sign or veto them within ten days of passage from the legislature.

During an interview Friday morning, Beshear said that he’s not endorsing the bill and emphasized that it seeks to prevent “something that never happens.”

Ryland Barton

 

The Kentucky legislature passed several bills on to Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk on Saturday, including measures tweaking the governor’s powers during the coronavirus pandemic and limiting abortions.

The rare weekend session capped off the first week of this year’s General Assembly, where Republican leaders rushed bills through the lawmaking process, waiving several rules that normally allow the public to review and comment.

Meanwhile armed protesters gathered outside the state Capitol, waving flags in support of President Donald Trump, and decrying Beshear’s restrictions during the pandemic.

In a statement on Twitter, Gov. Andy Beshear criticized the protest.

Blake Farmer | WPLN

Tennessee women’s rights groups are challenging a state law they say will interfere with the decision-making process for pregnant people undergoing drug-induced abortions.

A court hearing on the issue began at the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on Tuesday afternoon. The days-long trial will determine the law’s constitutionality.

The source of controversy is the abortion reversal theory. It promotes the idea that individuals can possibly undo the effects of the initial pill used to terminate pregnancies.

Abortion opponents were among those most excited by the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in October. And they had good reason to be.

As a law professor and circuit court judge, Barrett made it clear she is no fan of abortion rights. She is considered likely to vote not only to uphold restrictions on the procedure, but also, possibly, even to overturn the existing national right to abortion under the Supreme Court's landmark rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.

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.

Courtesy Gov. Bill Lee / Facebook

Tennessee’s newest restriction on abortions saw two major — and opposing — developments Monday.

Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

“With the signature of this bill,” Lee said during the Facebook Live event, with a blue Sharpie in hand, “Tennessee is one of the most pro-life states in America.”

However, less than an hour later, a federal judge blocked the law from going into effect, citing the law placed “undue burden” on people seeking pre-viability abortions. The measure aims to prohibit abortions starting at around six weeks. That’s before most people know they’re pregnant, effectively blocking most abortions.

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