KY Supreme Court hears oral arguments regarding abortion

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — Oral arguments were heard inside the Kentucky Supreme Court on Tuesday, as protestors chanted just feet away, most chanting “bans off our bodies!”
The case will most likely decide abortion access in the Commonwealth.

“Our constitution is not pro choice, and it’s not pro life, either,” said Matt Kuhn, the Solicitor General of Kentucky, representing Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Arguments from both sides filled the courtroom — those who say the constitution protects abortion and those who say it does not.
Some argue when the constitution was written, women were not taken into account.

“So is that not something this court can consider when deciding a 2022 issue, following a ballot initiative where the people have voted no?” questioned Deputy Chief Justice Lisabeth T. Hughes of the 4th Supreme Court District.

The hearing comes exactly a week after Kentuckians voted “No” on Amendment Two in last week’s election.

“Real Kentuckians are being harmed by these bans in place,” argued Heather Gatnarek, staff attorney with the ACLU. “I think that many of the justices understand why it’s so important that we block these laws, at least while the case returns to the circuit court for a trial on the scriptures to take at least for the ruling on whether to continue.”

Kuhn expressing to the justices, that the constitution does not protect an abortion.

“If you allow an abortion, you’re always going to affect the pregnant mother. And if you allow an abortion, you’re always going to affect the unborn child. And if you prohibit an abortion, you’re always going to affect the pregnant mother,” he said.

“In most cases, it’s just not safe or healthy for a 10 year old child, to carry a child to turn,” responded Justice Michelle M. Keller, with the 6th Supreme Court District. “Our constitution does specifically talk about self determination in reference to one’s own safety. And that’s in the very first section of our Bill of Rights. And I can’t overlook that compelling language.”

Those fighting for abortion access arguing that abortion access doesn’t just hinder women but also hinders others from getting the necessary healthcare.

“The window of time in which people can access abortions is even shorter, it is impractical to suggest that a patient between the time they find out they’re pregnant make a decision to have an abortion, and before their time limited by whatever, whatever the upper limit of gestational age would be, are then able to go to court and get a court order allowing them for that, allowing them to access that care,” added Gatnarek.

There is no timeline for a decision yet.

“There is a 15 week law in place, and if Judge Perry’s temporary injunction is reinstated, abortions up until 15 weeks would be allowed in the Commonwealth,” said Kuhn.

“The only laws that issue here are their trigger ban and the six week ban the 15 week ban is not currently at issue in this case. So if the injunction were reinstated and the case returns to the circuit court, abortion would be permitted up to 15 weeks that law was previously challenged under federal than existing federal law, but has now taken effect over the summer. So 15 weeks would be the uppermost limit that abortion would be permitted in Kentucky,” also said Gatnarek.

Both parties say they are hopeful the highest court will rule accordingly.

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