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Civil rights group sues to block Kentucky abortion law

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [official website] filed a lawsuit [text, PDF] in the US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky [official website] Tuesday challenging the Kentucky abortion measures that Governor Matt Bevin [official website] signed into law earlier that day.

ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C., Kentucky's sole licensed abortion facility, and two physicians who also treat EMW's patients. The ACLU stated [press release] that this lawsuit is aimed at protecting women's rights to safe, affordable abortions and the ability to choose what happens to their bodies.

Under House Bill 454 [text, PDF], the abortion procedure [JURIST report] known as "excavation and dilation" is illegal after the eleventh week of pregnancy. A physician who knowingly performs an abortion in violation of the bill can be found guilty of a class D felony. The bill does include an exception for medical emergencies, but not for rape or incest.

The complaint alleges the law violates the Fourteenth Amendment's right to privacy and right to bodily integrity, stating, "[b]y banning the safest and most common method of abortion starting in the early second trimester, the Act violates Plaintiffs’ patients’ right to liberty and privacy." The plaintiffs' are asking the court deem the law "unconstitutional and unenforceable", and to immediately forbid enforcement.


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