ACLU of Kentucky Still Seeking Emergency Relief for 15-Week Abortion Ban Enacted Under House Bill 3
The ACLU of Kentucky is still seeking emergency relief to block enforcement of Kentucky’s 15-week abortion ban enacted into law under under House Bill 3 on April 14, 2022. Until there is clarity as to whether this patently unconstitutional ban is blocked by the courts, people seeking care from 15 weeks on will be forced to remain pregnant or seek an abortion out of state, if they have the resources to do so.
The ACLU of Kentucky sought a temporary restraining order against the new restrictions imposed by HB3 and the 15-week ban immediately after it became law. ACLU-KY sought permission from the court to add the HB3 challenge to an existing lawsuit against Kentucky’s 6-week abortion ban and ban on abortion based on the reasons a person is seeking care. Planned Parenthood filed a separate case and sought emergency relief from HB3’s restrictions. They did not bring a substantive challenge to the 15-week ban because they do not provide care after 14 weeks. The judge in that case granted a temporary restraining order on April 21, blocking HB3 in its entirety.
However, it is unclear whether the attorney general will argue that the 15-week ban is encompassed in that order. ACLU-KY needs further clarity from the court or relief that ensures its client will not face penalties for providing abortions at and after 15-weeks. Until HB3 was enacted into law, EMW Women’s Surgical Center provided care up to 22 weeks.
On Friday, April 22, Judge Hale of the US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky denied ACLU-KY's request to add the challenge to the 15-week ban to the existing lawsuit against the 6-week and Reason Bans. Consequently, Judge Hale denied the request for a temporary restraining order that would have blocked enforcement of the 15-week ban.
On Monday, April 25, the ACLU of Kentucky filed a motion to intervene in the pending Planned Parenthood case, and also filed a motion to clarify that the judge’s order enjoins the 15-week ban as well. If granted, EMW will be able to resume providing care at 15 weeks and later.
EMW Women’s Surgical Center is currently providing care up to 15 weeks. Patients should contact EMW Women’s Surgical Center or Planned Parenthood to schedule an appointment. They can also contact Kentucky Health Justice Network to learn more about abortion care and seek assistance with costs, travel, lodging, and more.
In the PDFs below, view the court's denial of our request for a temporary restraining order, our request to join Planned Parenthood's ongoing case, our challenge to House Bill 3, and our request for clarification from the court regarding the temporary restraining order granted in Planned Parenthood's case on April 21.
This release was updated on Monday, April 25, 2022. It was originally published on Friday, April 22, 2022.
Explanation of documents:
Documents 1 – 3 relate to our request to join Planned Parenthood's lawsuit challenging House Bill 3. They were filed before Judge Jennings in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky on Monday, April 25, 2022. Document 4 is from our original challenge to HB3 before Judge Hale in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.
We are requesting to join Planned Parenthood's challenge because Judge Hale denied our request to block enforcement of House Bill 3. Abortion care remains legal in Kentucky and you can once again get an abortion in Kentucky. However, until there is clarification from the court on the 15-week ban, patients cannot get an abortion after 15 weeks due to Judge Hale's denial of our request for emergency relief.
- ACLU of Kentucky's request to join the ongoing challenge to House Bill 3 that was brought by Planned Parenthood when HB3 took effect. (4/25/22)
- ACLU of Kentucky's tendered complaint outlining House Bill 3's constitutional violations, including all regulations within HB3 that cannot be complied with and the 15-week ban on all abortions in Kentucky. This will be filed with the case if our request to join Planned Parenthood's lawsuit is granted. (4/25/22)
- Request for the court to clarify that the temporary restraining order granted in Planned Parenthood's case blocks enforcement of the entirety of HB3, including the 15-week ban. (4/25/22)
- Denial of our request for a temporary restraining order. (4/22/22)