On Thursday Kentucky lawmakers passed a "heartbeat bill" banning any abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, and the ACLU was ready for them on Friday before Gov. Matt Bevin could sign the bill.
A federal judge in Louisville has issued a temporary order barring the state from enforcing a new abortion law, less than 24 hours after it was passed by the Kentucky General Assembly.
U.S. District Judge David Hale issued the order at 7:40 p.m. Friday, blocking the state from enforcing Senate Bill 9, the "fetal heartbeat" bill which bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually around the sixth week of pregnancy.
Hale's order comes the same day the America Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the new law, arguing the law would effectively ban abortion in Kentucky because most women don't realize they are pregnant until at least six weeks into a pregnancy.
Hale's order, citing the the "strong likelihood of success" of the ACLU's claim that the law is unconstitutional, ordered that enactment of the law be delayed for 14 days until he is able to hold a hearing on the matter.
"The Supreme Court has stated in no uncertain terms that regardless of whether exceptions are made for particular circumstances, a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability." Hale's order said, citing a previous ruling on the matter.
Hale's order said that if the law is enforced before a hearing, patients "would be immediately and irreparably harmed absent a temporary restraining order from this court."
It noted the law has an emergency clause that allows it to take effect as soon as it is signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin. Bevin, an anti-abortion Republican, has pledged to sign it.
The lawsuit was filed Friday by the ACLU on behalf of EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville, the state's only abortion clinic.
SB 9 was enacted late Thursday as one of four bills meant to restrict or ban abortion in Kentucky by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
Even as House members voted final passage of the law Thursday, some members warned it is unconstitutional including Rep. Chris Harris, a Pikeville Democrat.
"I consider myself pro-life," Harris said. "But the constitutionality of this legislation has already been decided."
Harris noted the state already is "embroiled" in three other lawsuits defending other abortion laws passed by the legislature. Federal judges have struck down two and a decision on a third is pending.
"We have a responsibility to the people not to waste their money and this is a waste of money," Harris said of SB 9.
You'd think lawmakers would get that, but they all want to be the "heroes" who go down in the history books of American theocracy, with their names attached to the chains around the necks of women. That's the glory they want.
The best part is they couldn't care less about the babies born, because this same Bevin administration and GOP-controlled General Assembly has done everything it could to remove Medicaid, school funding, environmental protections, and just about everything else from kids born and living in this state.
They just want to loot the treasury before the place burns down.
Finally, the wort part is how many Kentucky Democrats voted for the House and Senate bills, ten of the 39 House Democrats voted for it (and another ten voted absent) including Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Rocky Adkins, and four of the nine Senate Democrats voted for it, meaning barely half of Kentucky Democrats had to courage to vote against an obviously unconstitutional anti-choice bill.
But that's Bevinstan for you.