Laws Under Fire

No Discrimination and Heartbeat Laws - Passed during 2019 Regular Legislative Session;
Immediately challenged by ACLU - 3-19-19; Bevin files brief to defend laws - 8-3-2019;
Laws conflated in suit; Judge asked to dismiss case;
Blog series covering stages of litigation
'Trigger' Law under attack and now is joined with Heartbeat Law for Ruling by KY Supreme Court in early 2023

Awaiting a conclusion

Background on 2019 Legislative Initiatives

Four bills were presented by the Pro-life Caucus members early in the 2019 Legislative Session on Jan. 10 at a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda:

  • SB 9 - The “Heartbeat” bill - no abortion after detection of a heartbeat.
  • SB 50 - Abortion Pill Reporting Requirements - require a report of dispensing a prescription for RU-486 …or any other drug …intended to end a pregnancy to the Vital Statistics Branch within 15 days after the end of the month.
  • HB 5 - No abortion for discriminatory reasons - based on sex, race, color, national origin, or disability.
  • HB 148 - Ends abortion - if and when Roe v. Wade is overturned by SCOTUS or states are once again authorized to prohibit abortion.

ALL THESE BILLS were passed during the Legislative Session! A fifth pro-life bill, SB 227, passed the House but did not complete the full cycle to become a law.

Immediately after SB 9 and HB 5 were passed, the EMW Abortion Clinic sued the state of Kentucky. A Courier-Journal article explains how the Heartbeat Bill was immediately blocked. Shortly thereafter HB 5 was blocked by Judge Hale. Read more.

A KRLA blog series reveals to pro-lifers how our laws become mired in the legal system.

In the spring of 2020, Judge Hale tied the fate of these laws to the outcome of an Ohio case under review in the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court. On April 13, 2021, the Appeals Court published their en-banc decision that upholds Ohio law (HB214).

Executive Director Addia Wuchner stated: “Congratulations Ohio and thank you Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals for upholding Ohio's 2017 Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act. Our sincere appreciation for Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s support of Ohio's ProLife laws and his diligence in defending a similar Kentucky law banning discriminatory abortions.”

Update on Tennessee Down Syndrome legal challenge, 9/10/21

Despite the decision of the Appeals Court on April 13 (see AG Cameron statement above), the ACLU pursued a different ruling. On their webpage about the Ohio case, it states that the case is still active.

The AP News website noted that the Appeals Court reversed its decision on the Tennessee Down Syndrome law. As shown in the graphic that relates to the Transfer Agreement case (which has been decided in favor of Ky but has not been implemented), the Sixth Circuit oversees legislation in a four-state area that includes both Ohio and Tennessee. We wonder if there is more to come on the Ohio case and how all this will affect Ky's No-discrimination law.

Appeals Court region

Appeals court blocks Tennessee Down syndrome abortion ban

By JONATHAN MATTISE | September 10, 2021
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A panel of federal judges reversed course Friday and blocked a Tennessee restriction that outlaws abortions because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, or because of the race or gender of the fetus. The ruling also kept a six-week abortion ban blocked. … In its multipronged decision, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati affirmed previous rulings that have blocked the state’s six-week abortion ban. The law states that if the six-week ban is deemed unconstitutional — a time frame when most people don’t know they’re pregnant — then the ban would begin at various other gestational stages…
Abortion rights groups said the decisions bring some relief in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court allowing Texas’ near-ban on abortions to take effect. The U.S. Department of Justice has sued over the Texas law, which allows any private citizen to sue Texas abortion providers who violate the law, as well as anyone who “aids or abets” a woman or girl getting the procedure. The two Tennessee restrictions include felony penalties for physicians found in violation… Read more.

No-discrimination Lawsuit Dismissed

On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, Judge Hale dismissed the Heartbeat and No-discriminiation suit at the request of attorneys for Planned Parenthood and EMW Clinic. The Plaintiffs are now challenging the Heartbeat Law as part of their case against the 2019 'Trigger Law', however, the No-discrimination suit was dismissed, and at present we do not know of a further challenge to impede it. This law is in force!

AG Cameron’s statement on the en-banc ruling on HB214, 4/13/21

AG Cameron statement on Appeals Court decision

sponsors of HB5 and SB9