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 was founded under the guidance of Suzy Post, then executive director of the ACLU of Kentucky.
The Reproductive Freedom Project is a project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization. Your tax-deductible gifts support the legal and public education work of the RFP.
The ACLU of Kentucky's Reproductive Freedom Project is dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive rights for all Kentuckians through education, advocacy, and litigation.
The project has one full-time staff person, a volunteer Committee and Founders Committee, and many loyal supporters and volunteers.
More than 90% of our funding comes from the private donations of supporters throughout Kentucky. Each year, we also receive a small grant from the National ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Grants-to-Affiliates Program.
Since 1993, the RFP donor and membership base has grown from approximately 80 individuals and families to more than 700.
The RFP, in concert with other groups, organizes public educational forums such as:
- “Talking About Freedom of Choice” workshops to help people become more comfortable discussing the highly charged issues of choice.
- Trainings for volunteer lobbyists.
- Presentations regarding a variety of choice issues.
- LOBBYING - The RFP is the lead lobbying arm for state choice issues.
- We coordinate volunteer lobbyists.
- Develop message points and strategy.
- Arrange testimony before committees.
- Deal with media, and organize opposition / support for choice issues.
- RAISING PUBLIC AWARENESS ABOUT REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM ISSUES – The RFP brings a pro-choice voice to the public debates surrounding proposed state regulations and legislation that impact reproductive health care such as contraceptive equity, clinic violence and restrictions on access to abortion services.
- JUDICIAL BYPASS – The RFP helped to organize and now continues to oversee the judicial bypass system for young women seeking abortions who cannot obtain a parent’s consent.
- COALITION PARTICIPATION – The RFP works in coalition with a variety of choice and social justice groups throughout the state.
The National ACLU and the ACLU of Kentucky have been involved in litigation for every abortion rights case in Kentucky during 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.
To contact the Reproductive Freedom Project, email us at
Did You Know?
- 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. (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2002)
- In Kentucky, approximately 431,580 women are in need of contraceptive services and supplies – 57% of these women need publicly supported services, but only 33% receive those services. (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2002)
- In Kentucky in 2002, 33,600 unintended pregnancies were avoided by publicly funded family planning clinics. (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2002)
- Every public dollar spent on family planning services saves $3 in Medicaid costs for prenatal and newborn care. (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2002)
- Women of reproductive age spend 68% more than men on out-of-pocket health care costs – reproductive health care services account for much of that difference. (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2002)
- Over half of unintended pregnancies occur to women who are using contraceptives during the month they become pregnant. (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2002)
- There were 3,502 abortions performed in Kentucky in 2002. (Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics, 2002)
- 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. (Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics, 2002)
- 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. (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2002)
- Kentucky is one of the most restrictive states in the nation for reproductive choice.
- 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.
How Can You Get Involved?
DONATE - Contribute financially to the work of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
SPEAK OUT - Join the RFP 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