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International norms: MOST European nations do not allow elective abortion (8) or limit it to 15 weeks or earlier (39). In contrast, 0 of 50 U.S. states limit abortion to 15 weeks or earlier. In fact, the USA is among a ‘Group of 7’ nations which do allow late-term abortions. This G7 includes: Canada, China, the Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States.
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A Ryan Bomberger Meme.
A Ryan Bomberger Meme.
10 week old fetus
Learn about Kentucky’s Dismemberment Law.
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In late June we reported on the Supreme Court decision that ruled against Louisiana’s 2014 ‘Unsafe Abortion Protection Act’, the June v. Russo case.
Pro-lifers had hoped SCOTUS would require abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges with nearby hospitals. Instead, the Justices’ decision has caused a wave of motions by ACLU and/or abortion clinic attorneys across the country, asking courts to recognize the SCOTUS decision as pertinent to litigation or laws that are related.
To counter this aggressive effort, AG Cameron stepped forward to request that the Sixth Circuit grant his motion to defend Kentucky’s Transfer Agreement Law from Legal Challenge by ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the EMW. It was granted. This case was begun in the Bevin administration so it was necessary to update those involved.
The Appeals Court heard arguments in the case last August. We suspected it was waiting to hear what SCOTUS would say about the Louisiana case before issuing a ruling.
We remain hopeful to see our Transfer Agreement law upheld. As mentioned in previous posts, of the judges on the panel, two were appointed by President Trump. They seemed genuinely interested during the oral arguments, and even suggested good reasons for transfer agreements!
Also, of six states that require TAs with hospitals, two are in the jurisdiction of the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court. The six states are: Florida, NC, Penn., Wisconsin, Mich. and Ohio, with the last two being part of the Sixth Circuit along with Ky. and Tenn.
The ramifications of the June v. Russo case are many. The Guttmacher Institute, a policy arm of abortion supporters, provided a view to how it could affect the national “targeted regulation of abortion providers.”
It is strange that their chart that delineates which states have Transfer Agreements marks Kentucky’s Law as “permanently enjoined.” Of course, it is NOT. It awaits the decision of the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court.
Pro-lifers in Kentucky currently await a number of important court rulings:
- The Supreme Court will soon rule on the Louisiana June Medical Services case. Its decision could require abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital, leading to many clinic closings in the nation. In Louisville two doctors (of whom we are aware) at the EMW clinic do have hospital admitting privileges but this is not the same as a Transfer Agreement.
- The Transfer Agreement lawsuit awaits a decision from the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court. It is possible that the above-mentioned SCOTUS ruling will affect that case. However, as brought out by Kentucky’s attorneys during the trial and appeal, the critical aspect of such agreements is the “protocol for transferring medical records.” Since two of the judges on the Appeals panel were appointed by President Trump, we hope for a fair and just decision.
- The Heartbeat and Anti-eugenics laws, rolled into one during the litigation, await the decision of the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court on an Ohio case, “Preterm-Cleveland v. Himes,” that will determine the fate of Down Syndrome babies and the outcome of the Kentucky litigation.
- The Dismemberment Abortion law appeal was decided in favor of the EMW and ACLU, however, AG Cameron will be making a decision soon on whether to request an “en banc” (full Appeals Court) hearing or to instead appeal the case to SCOTUS.
Presently, pro-lifers are striving to prevent the overturn of safety precautions for women who elect medical abortions. Attorney General Cameron has added Kentucky as an “Intervenor State” to an Amicus brief in defense of in-person dispensing of the “abortion pill” by a doctor for the protection of the woman seeking the abortion. The political association for ObGyns, ACOG, wants the FDA to drop their regulations that ensure a drug’s benefits outweigh its risks. The pro-life ObGyns have exposed this.
Let's all pray.
A New Year’s Prediction: Perhaps the legal case against Kentucky’s Heartbeat and Anti-Eugenics Law will not be decided before Spring 2020.
In a document filed on December 16, 2019 by the Plaintiffs, it is revealed that an ‘En Banc’ review of Ohio’s Preterm-Cleveland v. Himes case has been granted by the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court. The Preterm-Cleveland case was cited by our attorneys in document 47 as relevant to Kentucky’s when Ohio appealed for a ‘full-bench’ (en banc) hearing after the Appellate Court upheld the preliminary injunction against it.
In 2018, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood of America filed a suit on behalf of several abortion clinics and their patients to challenge HB214, the Ohio law that prohibits abortion if based on a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. They argued that the law imposes an unconstitutional burden on patients seeking abortions. ReWire News reported:
On March 14, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law, ruling that Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade bars states from prohibiting pregnant people “from making the ultimate decision to terminate [their] pregnancy before viability.”
On October 11, 2019, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court order blocking the law, ruling that it “unconstitutionally inhibits pre-viability abortions based on a woman’s reason for seeking abortion.” Ohio has sought a rehearing en banc.
Ohio’s request was granted on December 13, and the oral argument is scheduled for March 11, 2020. It seems likely that Judge Hale may wait for that opinion before issuing a decision on the Heartbeat and Anti-eugenics laws.
We await new documents to be filed, and will add a post to this series when that occurs.
Seventh in a Series: Pro-life Laws Under Attack
On December 9, due to the 2019 general election results, all but one of the wonderful attorneys who have defended the Heartbeat and Anti-eugenics laws ‘withdrew as counsel’ from the case. Some are now employed under new AG Daniel Cameron. Currently, only Attorney Catherine York is on the job, and we are not privy to how things may develop from here.
So far, the Commonwealth wants: (partial summary)
- Discovery for HB5, to determine the practice and prevalence of race-, sex-, and disability-based abortions and the state’s interest in stopping these; and for SB9 to bring to light facts on viability that would show it is a moving marker and therefore unreliable
- For the Court to deny EMW’s motion for Summary Judgment on HB5 since no previous case has determined whether a state can ban race-, sex-, and disability-selective abortions. “Roe and Casey focused on women who do not want a child at all, not on women who want a child as long as he or she has certain characteristics.” (This is changing; see previous post. -ed). Also, HB5 protects the medical profession so doctors will be viewed as healers not as facilitators of discrimination. HB5 combats eugenics which is an international trend at present.
- For the Court to deny EMW’s motion for Summary Judgment on SB9 which is not a “6-week Ban” but rather shows compelling interest of Kentucky in the lives of its unborn children. The fetal heartbeat is the key medical marker that, unlike the old viability marker, does not move; it is a stable, universally recognized sign of life and important milestone in an unborn child’s growth. It is not detectable at 6 weeks but rather at 8 to 10 (from LMP) by transabdominal ultrasound. (emphasis added)
Numerous affidavits were attached to this Document in support of the Defendant’s arguments which were demanded to be struck by Plaintiffs who insisted they were Discovery.
Kentucky argued that Plaintiffs had also provided Discovery by their statement (Doc 4) from an EMW abortionist who claimed that she could not serve patients and had to turn away one with a fetal anomaly. Thus, their request for Summary Judgment was based on a “verified” complaint, which is the same as Discovery. Our attorneys were not ‘born yesterday’.
They noted that the EMW attorneys did not file for Summary Judgment based on the pleadings, in which case Secy. Meier could have been prevented from offering evidence, but rather cited its own verified complaint and a declaration, which allowed Secy. Meier to offer competing evidence.
Nevertheless, the affidavits in support of Kentucky’s arguments were ordered removed, and Plaintiffs continued to argue:
- As the Supreme Court and every other court to consider a pre-viability abortion ban has held, there is no state interest strong enough to overcome a woman’s decision to obtain an abortion before viability. Defendant’s arguments to the contrary are nothing more than attempts to improperly re-litigate the well-settled constitutional right to abortion, and they should be rejected…
- Both Bans Are Unconstitutional Under Supreme Court Precedent That Categorically Prohibits States From Banning Pre-Viability Abortions. …The Court is instructed to strike Defendant’s improper expert declarations from the record and deny his request for Discovery.
Many of the documents on PACER are lengthy. The reason for this blog series is to explain briefly (relatively) to Kentuckians what has become of our pro-life bills that our Legislature passed.
A strategy of pro-lifers in pursuing bills that address varying aspects of abortion is to roll back Roe v. Wade incrementally but surely.
The goal of reducing the number of abortions is perfectly met in HB5 and SB9.
The Plaintiffs state in documents 5 and 6 that SB9 would result in prohibiting 90% of the abortions in the Commonwealth by banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. This may be an exaggeration.
EMW admits the 6 week LMP fetal heartbeat can only be detected by transvaginal ultrasound; SB9 only requires a standard medical procedure to detect the heartbeat. Thus, it prevents abortion of babies 8 to 10 weeks old. At 10 weeks the unborn child closely resembles the overall shape of a newborn baby though much smaller. (See image in left column on this page.) Thus, SB9 anchors Kentucky’s interest in prenatal life to immutable characteristics of humanity rather than a judicially invented construct. (emphasis added)
Currently EMW aborts approximately 3000+ babies each year. To reduce that number by the percent noted, there would be only 300 abortions — still far too many. But it is a step in the right direction, just as the Fetal Pain bill that passed in 2017 reduced the number because it narrowed the window for abortion to 20 weeks, which had been 23 at EMW.
At this writing there are 51 documents in view on the PACER website, with the latest filed by the Plaintiffs on December 16, 2019. Doc 48 suggests to Judge Hale that a current case, SisterSong v. Kemp (Georgia’s Heartbeat Law), has recently been updated to permit only limited discovery for the defendant, and that a federal district court preliminarily enjoined Alabama’s near-total ban on abortion on Oct 29 (2019).
Doc 50, filed on December 12, cites the wording in the SisterSong v. Kemp case that “[t]he Supreme Court has repeatedly and unequivocally held that under no circumstances whatsoever may a state prohibit or ban abortions prior to viability, no matter what the state asserts to support it.”
Plaintiffs also attached the Georgia Judge’s order, which also states that the State Defendants are permitted in limited discovery to “rely upon ‘legislative facts,’ which are ‘of the type that reviewing courts often rely upon in considering whether constitutional precedents should be overturned….’ ” By attaching this order, it would seem that the Plaintiffs do not believe that Judge Hale will overturn a SCOTUS precedent.
The reason the SisterSong case was cited is that Kentucky’s attorneys argued against Summary Judgment prior to Discovery in part based on that case which initially had specified no limitation to Discovery.
Kentucky has argued for Judge Hale to deny the Plaintiffs’ motion for Summary Judgment based on:
- Plaintiffs’ inadequate reasons why the Court should deny/overturn the will of Kentuckians shown in the two statutes
- Discovery has been denied such that defendants —the Commonwealth— cannot fully defend its laws
- Though the viability standard was established long ago, it has since been questioned in suits such as Casey, which noted: “facts have so changed, or come to be seen so differently, as to have robbed the old rule of significant application or justification.”
Indeed! What if 4D ultrasounds had been around in 1973? Though ultrasound technology had first been used in the mid-1950s in Scotland, it was well into the 1970s before it became widely used in American hospitals.
In the going-on-nearly-three-years legal challenge to Kentucky’s Ultrasound Law (HB2) of 2017, a new document was filed in late October. Due to the General Election focus, we initially missed this announcement by Gov. Bevin.
Plaintiffs did not accept the victory for the Ultrasound Law that the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court handed down last April, and asked the Court for an “en banc” review of the decision. The Court declined, so Plaintiffs asked SCOTUS to issue a Writ of Certiorari. That would force the entire “bench” of the Sixth Circuit to review the decision.
The attorneys in Bevin’s Administration and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services who are defending the law, since AG Beshear refused to, filed an opposing brief in late October, asking that the petition for the Writ be denied. Their brief delineates the issue:
The “Question Presented” that is viewed as requiring “better judgment” is: Whether the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the Commonwealth of Kentucky from regulating the practice of medicine by requiring a medical professional, prior to performing a medical procedure, to provide the patient with information that is truthful, non-misleading, and relevant to the procedure.
Kentucky’s 33-page brief explains why there is no Circuit conflict over the question and no recurring question it needs to resolve, and that the Appeals Court ruling is correct.
They point out that the petitioners (EMW) argue that HB2 is not an informed-consent law. They say a disclosure requirement cannot be considered valid unless it is consistent with the informed-consent preferences of special interest groups like the National Abortion Federation and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The link to the brief is in the bulletin from Gov. Bevin, shared above.
Our pro-life attorney team has done a superb job of summing up for SCOTUS what is going on in the case. But, with the General Election results, will this wonderful team be in place to address any new challenges? If not, we want to again commend them for their dedicated work to save lives. If AG-elect Daniel Cameron is called on to complete their work, we wish him Godspeed.
Cameron has appointed Steve Pitt, Gov. Bevin's General Counsel, as his counsel and special advisor. Attorney Pitt served as chief litigator for Kentucky's Defense against the legal suits challenging our pro-life laws.
The Dismemberment Abortion bill that became law in spring 2018 is still in the court system. After being overturned at the District Court in Louisville last May, it was appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court. In mid-September, a flurry of Amicus Briefs were filed on behalf of EMW.
During the trial in Louisville, Defense (Ky) had argued that three methods could be used for humane fetal demise in place of tearing limbs off babies while they are alive. Plaintiffs vigorously argued that none of those— the KCl injection, Digoxin injection, nor the umbilical cord transection— was suitable, for numerous reasons. The Amicus briefs uphold the court arguments.
The first Amicus was submitted by:
- THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNECOLOGISTS (ACOG)
- THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (AMA)
- THE NORTH AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR PEDIATRIC AND ADOLESCENT GYNECOLOGY (NASPG)
- THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NURSE PRACTITIONERS IN WOMEN’S HEALTH (NPWH)
- THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF NURSE-MIDWIVES (ACNM) and
- THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNECOLOGISTS (ACOOG)
Whew! That’s a lot of friends. If only these associations were friends of humankind, born and unborn.
They argue that the Commonwealth’s proposed demise methods are invasive, additionally risky, medically unnecessary, experimental, and unreliable, among other points. All of these were refuted by the Defense during the trial.
The second Amicus was submitted by numerous states, including:
- NEW YORK, CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, HAWAI‘I, ILLINOIS, MARYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, NEVADA, NEW MEXICO, OREGON, PENNSYLVANIA, VERMONT, VIRGINIA, and WASHINGTON, and the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
This brief has a number of undue burden reasons.
The third was submitted by the
- SOCIETY FOR MATERNAL-FETAL MEDICINE
Sounds so motherly.
Its main point is that the Potassium Chloride (KCl) injection method is not feasible in an abortion clinic. This was also refuted during the trial.
The Supreme Court declined to hear an Alabama Dismemberment Abortion case on Friday, June 28. This case had been strengthened by an Amicus brief presented on behalf of 21 states through our Governor Bevin.
Gov. Bevin has appealed to the Sixth Circuit to reverse the decision to strike the law, and has vowed to appeal to SCOTUS should the current appeal be denied.
In regard to the Alabama case, Justice Clarence Thomas commented that “…justices should not keep refusing to hear abortion cases…”
The below NRLC graphic shows that two states, Mississippi and West Virginia, currently support Dismemberment Abortion bans. This demonstrates that legislatures and judges do rule favorably on this issue, but not in all states where legislation is passed.
In Kentucky we have a pro-life legislature but are frequently disappointed by the court system.
Let’s pray for a favorable outcome on the current Appeal, which we may very well see, based on the successful Ultrasound Law Appeal and the refusal of the Sixth Circuit to re-hear that case. (See previous post.)
In a major pro-life victory for Gov. Matt Bevin and the people of the Commonwealth, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today denied EMW Women's Surgical Center's petition for rehearing of the House Bill 2 ultrasound case.
In April, the Sixth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of HB 2 (2017), which requires an abortion provider to provide mothers with an ultrasound and a description of what it depicts, as well as the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat, before she chooses to terminate her pregnancy.
Earlier this month, the Louisville abortion clinic asked the Court to rehear the case en banc (before the entire bench) in a desperate attempt to undermine the Kentucky law, which passed with the support of more than 87 percent of state legislators.
The Courier-Journal quoted the ACLU attorney from NY who called the law ‘medically unnecessary’ and not supported by medical groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association. Read more.
In the linked video, Gov. Bevin discusses the victory!
On June 11 the Bevin Administration filed a court document to oppose the petition filed by the EMW Clinic and ACLU challenging the successful Appeal that enforced HB 2, Kentucky’s Ultrasound Law.
EMW/ACLU wants their “do-over” case to be heard by the full court of judges— 28 in all.
Steve Pitt, General Counsel for Gov. Bevin, has stated:
"Rehearing a case en banc is an extraordinary legal procedure, not simply a flippant opportunity for a do-over. In this case, the panel majority faithfully applied the relevant Supreme Court precedent to determine that the legislation at issue is constitutional. Thus, granting en banc rehearing is neither warranted under the rules nor a useful investment of the Court's time.”
Read the response of Adam Meier, Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, to the EMW/ACLU appeal here.
AG Beshear has refused to be involved in the case.
The EMW-ACLU Appeal to overturn the Bevin Administration’s successful Appeal to save Kentucky’s Ultrasound Law— is pending and may be read by anyone who desires to have a PACER account. PACER stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records.
The opening pages of the EMW-ACLU Appeal list all the attorneys who are working on the case. Then, a Statement of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests asks two questions:
- Is said party (EMW) a subsidiary or affiliate of a publicly-owned corporation?
- Is there a publicly-owned corporation, not a party to the appeal that has a financial interest in the outcome of this litigation?
Shouldn’t there be a third question?
3. Is there a publicly-funded corporation that will benefit from this Appeal if it succeeds?
Answer: Yes, Planned Parenthood receives $500 million annually from the U.S. taxpayers and will certainly benefit if this Appeal succeeds.
And how about a fourth question?
4. Is there an innocent public group who will be harmed financially if this Appeal succeeds?
Answer: Yes, the taxpayers of Kentucky will be the losers, since they will pay the tab for the extensive legal work performed by numerous attorneys from the ACLU of New York, the ACLU of Kentucky, and a law firm from New York, not to mention all the attorneys working for EMW since the suit was first filed— following the passage of HB2 in 2017 by the Kentucky Legislature.
Of course, a new Appeal could send the case to SCOTUS, so we assume it could take some time to determine who pays. We do not know all the legal ins and outs.
And another question:
5. Who pays the ACLU?
Not EMW. The ACLU does not charge its clients for its services. So, EMW can thank George Soros and others who donate to the ACLU for helping them to pursue their Appeal.
But maybe the full panel of the Sixth Circuit will turn down the Appeal. Watch for more news.
Our celebration about the successful Appeal of the Bevin administration to uphold Kentucky’s Ultrasound Law— was short-lived.
A Kentucky abortion clinic is asking a federal appeals court to rehear an appeal in the case of a state law that requires doctors to perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients prior to abortion.
A divided panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the 2017 law is constitutional, reversing a lower court judge.
Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, representing EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville, the state's only abortion provider, filed a petition Monday asking that the full appeals court hear the case. The petition cites a First Amendment issue of ‘exceptional importance.’
What a disappointment. Stay tuned. Stay strong.
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Posts on this page
8/13/2020 8:58:33 PMDespite the recent SCOTUS ruling on admitting privileges, the Kentucky Transfer Agreement appeal may turn out well.
6/17/2020 10:01:46 AMA wrap-up on pro-life legislation that is languishing
12/26/2019 8:46:15 PMThe preliminary injunction against Ohio law (HB214) to disallow abortion if based on Down syndrome prognosis, could be reversed.
12/26/2019 8:38:58 PMDefendants argue for humanity of doctors to be upheld and humanity of child to be respected
12/26/2019 8:29:23 PMThough the viability standard was established long ago, it has since been questioned in suits such as Cas…
11/21/2019 6:46:56 PMBevin administration attorneys file brief asking the Supreme Court to deny the Writ of Certiorari requested by ACLU for EMW
11/21/2019 6:33:09 PMFlurry of Amicus briefs filed on behalf of EMS in HB454 legal case
7/1/2019 2:45:33 PMSCOTUS declines to hear the Alabama Dismemberment Abortion Appeal
6/29/2019 5:07:04 PMSixth Circuit denies EMW/ACLU petition for rehearing of HB 2 Ultrasound case!
6/17/2019 7:13:17 PMEMW and ACLU want all 28 judges of the Sixth Circuit Court to hear their appeal to overturn the victory won by the Bevin Administration for Kentucky's Ultrasound Law
6/3/2019 8:26:21 PMThe ACLU seeks to appeal the verdict of the Sixth Circuit Court to uphold Kentucky’s Ultrasound Law
5/22/2019 1:41:57 PMThe ACLU has challenged the Sixth Circuit Court Decision to uphold Kentucky’s Ultrasound Law