Kentucky abortion battle shifts to second-trimester ban
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP/WDRB) -- The next round in Kentucky's legal fight over abortion features the same combatants, but they'll be arguing over a different issue: a second-trimester procedure to end pregnancies.
Lawyers for Kentucky's only abortion clinic, EMW Women's Surgical Center, will argue in federal court next week that a new state law amounts to an unconstitutional ban on the "safest and most common method" of second-trimester abortions.
The clinic and two physicians who work there filed a lawsuit after Gov. Matt Bevin signed HB 454 into law in April.
"It's a good piece of legislation," said Margie Montgomery, the executive director of Kentucky Right to Life. "It's horrible to think about. It's horrible to visualize."
HB 454 bans abortion on a pregnant woman that'll result in dismembering a body or crushing an unborn child at 11 weeks or greater, except if there's a medical emergency.
This type of abortion is called Dilation and Evacuation or D&E.
"D&E is a safe and medically proven method and is considered the accepted standard medical practice for abortions at this point in pregnancy," said Andrew Beck, an ACLU senior staff attorney representing the abortion clinic.
The law banning D&E has been temporarily suspended since April until the outcome of it's federal hearing next week. But pro-life supporters hope the law banning D&E is here to stay.
"It is something that is so necessary for our country to have respect for the dignity and worth for each and every human being," Montgomery said. "That includes the unborn child in the mother's womb."
They say it also protects ethics of the medical field.
"The ethics of a medical doctor that would do something so barbaric and so gruesome... How is that going to effect his life and the rest of his patients?" she said.
The ACLU has a different story.
"Much of the language you'll hear by our opponents is is part of an intentional shock campaign of inflammatory rhetoric, provocative images and made-up terms," Beck said.
They say politics and medicine are two very different playing fields.
"Doctors must be able to use their best judgment and not have politicians dictate the care that they provide," he said.
Bevin's administration sees the law as a proper restriction on "a particularly gruesome form of abortion." When he signed the measure in April, it went into effect immediately, which spurred the legal challenge by EMW and the ACLU.
A trial next week in federal court will decide if the law is constitutional. It starts Tuesday and is expected to last about three days.
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