ACLU of Kentucky

Reproductive Freedom Project

Our History

In 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Webster decision, signaling that states would have greater ability to impose restrictions on access to abortion services.  Recognizing the need for full-time staff resources dedicated to pro-choice advocacy work, the ACLU of Kentucky Reproductive Freedom Project (RFP) was founded under the guidance of Suzy Post, then executive director of the ACLU of Kentucky.

Our Mission

The ACLU of Kentucky’s Reproductive Freedom Project is dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive rights for all Kentuckians through education, advocacy, and litigation.


Lobbying – The RFP is the lead lobbying arm for state Reproductive Freedom issues.


The National ACLU and the ACLU of Kentucky have been involved in litigation for every abortion rights case in Kentucky over the past four decades.  Most of these cases have been successful, but the U.S. Supreme Court now permits several restrictions on access to abortion services.

Public Education

The RFP, in concert with other groups, organizes public educational forums such as:

To contact the Reproductive Freedom Project, email us at

The Facts

In our work for reproductive freedom, we often come across false information. Here, we present some facts on reproductive health in Kentucky:

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    • A typical woman who wants (and has) two children will need to use contraceptives for approximately 30 years of her life.  Without contraceptives, the average woman would have 12 to 15 pregnancies in her lifetime.
    • In 2010, 273,030 Kentucky women aged 13-44 were in need of publicly funded family planning services.
    • Publicly supported family planning centers in Kentucky served 104,330 female contraceptive clients in 2010. Those centers met 38% of Kentucky women’s need for contraceptive services and supplies, compared with 35% met by family planning centers nationally.
    • The services provided by family planning centers in Kentucky helped avert 26,100 unintended pregnancies in 2010, which would likely have resulted in 12,900 births and 8,900 abortions.
    • Averting these unintended pregnancies in Kentucky helped save the federal and state governments $159.9 million in Medicaid costs for pregnancy-related and newborn care in 2010.
    • 83% of abortions in Kentucky were performed within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, while only 2% were performed between 21 and 25 weeks of pregnancy.
    • In Kentucky, 74,900 of the 868,294 women of reproductive age became pregnant in 2008. 78% of these pregnancies resulted in live births and 6% in induced abortions.
    • Contrary to the claims of anti-choice groups, abortions do not occur late in pregnancy on viable fetuses.  Kentucky, like most states in the nation, already prohibits abortion by any method once a fetus becomes viable.
    • Nationally almost half of the women having abortions beyond 15 weeks of gestation reported that they were delayed because of problems in affording, finding or getting abortion services.
    • In only two Kentucky cities – Louisville and Lexington – can a woman obtain an abortion.
    • Kentucky bans public hospitals and facilities from providing abortion services, except to save a woman’s life.  It also prohibits the use of public funds for abortions unless the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest or it poses a threat to the woman’s life. (KRS 311.800 and KRS 311.715)
    • Before a woman can obtain an abortion in Kentucky, she must receive state-mandated information and then wait 24 hours before the procedure regardless of her individual circumstances. (KRS 311.725)
    • We could continue to reduce the need for abortions with improved access to Emergency Contraceptives (EC).  EC is up to 89% effective if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.  EC should not be confused with RU486, the abortion pill.  EC does not disrupt an established pregnancy, therefore it does not cause an abortion.  EC prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation, inhibiting fertilization or interfering with the implantation of a fertilized egg.

These facts were gathered from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, and the Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics.

How Can You Get Involved?

DONATE – Contribute financially to the work of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

SPEAK OUT – Join the ACLU Action Alert List to learn about legislation affecting reproductive freedom and how to call or write your elected officials.  Or come lobby with us during the annual sessions of the Kentucky General Assembly.

RAISE AWARENESS – Host one of our educational presentations.

Contact us at

View Ways to Get Involved

Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections

In Kentucky, the teen pregnancy rate is nearly 19% higher than the national average.   Although teen pregnancy rates are decreasing, there are still nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies each year.   Nearly 80 percent of teen pregnancies among 15- to 19-year olds are unintended.

About half of teens are having sex and nearly two-thirds will have had sex by their senior year in high school.

One in four young girls between the ages of 14 and 19 in the United States – or 3.2 million teenage girls are infected with a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Nine million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occurred among 15-24 year-olds in 2000.  The total cost was $6.5 billion.

An average of two young people in the United States are infected with HIV every hour of every day.  African Americans and Hispanic youth have been disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

According to a 2012 poll commissioned by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky more than 80% of parents want their children to receive comprehensive sexual education.

Nearly half of all teen males do not receive any formal education about birth control or STIs before having sex for the first time.

A large-scale federally-funded evaluation of abstinence-only programs found no measurable impact on increasing abstinence or delaying sexual initiation among participating youth.  Instead, these programs decreased adolescents’ confidence regarding the ability of condoms to prevent HIV and other STIs.

Research shows that teenagers who receive sexuality education that includes discussion of contraception are more likely than those who receive abstinence-only messages to delay sexual activity and to use contraceptives when they do become sexually active.

The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence suggests that addressing abstinence and contraception does not increase sexual activity.

The American Medical Association (AMA), the American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Public Health Association (APHA), and the Society of Adolescent Medicine (SAM), support responsible sexuality education that includes information about both abstinence and contraception.


Check out the websites of some of our allies for Reproductive Justice!

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The A-Fund

A Fund, Inc. is an all-volunteer organization that was founded in 1993 by a group of Kentuckians responding to the severe crisis experienced by many low-income women when faced with the need for an abortion

Clinic Escorts

Every Saturday Morning wonderful, brave, compassionate volunteers come out before the sun comes up to provide emotional and tactical support for people accessing Reproductive and Sexual medical care.

Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Through education and advocacy, the Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (KRCRC) brings the moral power of religious communities to ensure reproductive choice and health throughout

Kentucky. Kentucky Health Justice Network

KHJN exists to transform communities through supporting Kentuckians in their individual journeys toward justice and freedom in their reproductive lives. We provide direct services to eliminate barriers to access reproductive healthcare

Kentucky Support Network

If you are getting an abortion in Kentucky, or if you live in Kentucky and are traveling outside the state for your abortion, the Kentucky Support Network may be able to help you find the money you need or to offer you practical support (like transportation, a language interpreter, or a place to stay overnight.)

Kentucky Teen Pregnancy Coalition

The mission of Kentucky Teen Pregnancy Coalition is to reduce adolescent pregnancy in Kentucky by bringing together individuals and organizations concerned by adolescent pregnancy, prevention and parenting.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky—without bias or judgment, without fear, without fail—provides access to high-quality health care confidentially and compassionately; by reducing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases through age-appropriate and accurate sexual health education; and by advocating for freedom of individual choice in all matters of sexual health and reproductive justice.

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States

SIECUS-the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States- was founded in 1964 to provide education and information about sexuality and sexual and reproductive health.

Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective

Sister Song mobilizes women of color around our lived experiences by bringing women of color together, encouraging our collective sustainability through mentoring and self-help, providing a framework that resonates with our lived experience, and organizing and mobilizing to affect change.

Judicial Bypass

In Kentucky, if you are under 18 and have never been married you must have the consent of a parent or a judge before you can have an abortion.

If you decide to have an abortion and you cannot tell one of your parents, you have the right to get a court order from a judge.

It is very important to know your legal rights if you decide to seek a court order.  You have the right to:

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  • A Speedy Process: The judge must reach a decision quickly—within 72 hours (3 days) of when your case is filed in court.  Often, the judge will decide immediately.
  • A Lawyer: If you don’t have a lawyer, the court must appoint one.  It is best to go to court with a lawyer.  The clinic can help get you a lawyer.
  • Free Court Costs:  If you sign a form saying you can’t pay court costs, you won’t have to pay for either the court costs or the lawyer.
  • Confidentiality:  No one should ever know you have been to court asking for permission to get an abortion.  You have a legal right to go to court instead of telling a parent about your decision to have an abortion.
  • Answers to Questions: There should be someone in the circuit or district court clerk’s office who can answer your questions, either in person by phone.  Never hesitate to ask questions.  Your lawyer also can answer your questions.

If you are pregnant and unsure of what you want to do, you can call one of the organizations listed here for help.  Counselors at a family planning clinic or the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice can help you decide.  You don’t need a parent’s permission to see a counselor.  These services are confidential.

Whatever choice you make about your pregnancy, these organizations and clinics are there to provide help and support because they care about your safety and well-being.  Whatever choice you make, you do not have to go through the process alone.

These organizations provide information, counseling, birth control, and family planning services:

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky

Planned Parenthood in Lexington-(859) 252-8494

Planned Parenthood in Louisville-(502) 584-2473

These organizations provide information about referrals:

ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project-(502) 581-9746

The Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice-866-606-0988

Anti-Choice Legislation Stopped In House H&W Committee

  • March 19, 2014
  • Posted in News

***Update:  The House Health and Welfare Committee voted down SB3, SB8 and HB575.  The measures will NOT go to the House floor for consideration.*** March 20, the House Health and Welfare Committee will vote on three pieces of anti-choice legislation that would require doctors to perform medically unnecessary ultrasounds before a woman could obtain an […]

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Rally for Youth & Reproductive Rights

  • February 18, 2014
  • Posted in News

Students Met with Legislators to Discuss Dating Violence, Sex education and LGBT Rights Dozens of Kentucky high school students converged on the State Capitol February 18, 2014 to meet with legislators on issues they identified as top priorities:  teen dating violence, comprehensive sexual education and anti-discrimination protections for LGBT Kentuckians. “We want to see a […]

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Reproductive Freedom & Youth Rights Lobby Day 2/18/14

  • February 11, 2014
  • Posted in News

The ACLU of Kentucky Reproductive Freedom Project, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, and the Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students are organizing and supporting a Rally for Reproductive Freedom.  College and high school students from across the Commonwealth will convene in Frankfort Tuesday, February 18th to advocate for comprehensive sexual education, protections for dating […]

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So-Called “Informed Consent” Bill Passes Kentucky Senate

  • February 5, 2014
  • Posted in News

SB8, a bill that would require an ultrasound before an abortion AND mandate the doctor to give a woman a “detailed description of the fetus,” whether she wants to hear it or not, overwhelmingly passed in the Kentucky Senate 33-5.  Senators Perry Clark, Denise Harper-Angel, Morgan McGarvey, Gerald Neal and Reggie Thomas voted no on […]

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“I don’t care about the costs.”

  • January 30, 2014
  • Posted in News

  SB8, a bill that would require an ultrasound before an abortion AND mandate the doctor to give a woman a “detailed description of the fetus,” whether she wants to hear it or not, overwhelmingly passed out of a Senate committee and is headed to the full Senate for a vote.  Louisville’s Perry Clark was […]

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Roe v. Wade Anniversary Event-Thank you!

  • January 29, 2014
  • Posted in News

We marked the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision with a coalition gathering January 25th at the BBC Taproom (Corner of Main & Clay Streets). Thanks to everyone that came out to support the ACLU of Kentucky Reproductive Freedom Project, PPINK, Clinic Escorts, KHJN, KSN, A Fund, and KRCRC.  All funds raised will […]

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Anti-Abortion SB3 Passes Senate, Moves to House

  • January 23, 2014
  • Posted in News

  SB3, which would require an in-person, face-to-face meeting between a doctor and patient 24-hours before an abortion, passed the Kentucky Senate with a 33-5 vote. The ACLU of Kentucky opposes this measure because the bill is designed to set up additional barriers to accessing safe, legal abortions.  Currently, telemedicine is used to fulfill the […]

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ACLU of KY Opposes Senate’s Proposed Abortion Limits

  • January 16, 2014
  • Posted in News

  Legislation Would Place Undue Burden on Kentucky Families The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky testified January 16, 2014 against legislation filed in Kentucky’s Senate that would severely restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion in a state where access is already very limited. SB3 would require a woman to have “in person” […]

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Reproductive Freedom Under Attack in 2014 General Assembly

  • January 10, 2014
  • Posted in News

  As the 2014 General Assembly gets underway, reproductive freedom in the commonwealth is already under attack from all sides. Within hours of the first gavel, three pieces of anti-abortion legislation were filed in the Kentucky Senate.  Since then additional anti-abortion bills have been filed in both the House and Senate.  Here is a listing […]

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The RFP Turns 25!

  • December 16, 2013
  • Posted in Front Slider

In 1989 the Supreme Court decided that states could start imposing restrictions on a woman seeking an abortion. Then Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky Suzy Post knew that it was only a matter of time before Kentucky politicians would seek to impose their will on Kentuckians, meaning safe, legal abortions […]

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