The ACLU and the ACLU of Kentucky filed suit on behalf of Kentucky abortion providers to challenge a state law banning physicians from providing a safe and medically proven abortion method called dilation and evacuation, or “D&E.” The lawsuit asks the court to rule that the law is unconstitutional. The law is forcing patients to travel hundreds of miles to get an abortion, and for some women that is an insurmountable obstacle. The law imposes serious harm on women’s health and dignity and will continue to do so every day it remains in effect.
The federal lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, seeks to stop enforcement of a new Kentucky law, also known as H.B. 454, while the case proceeds. Plaintiffs argue the Kentucky law imposes severe burdens and irreparable harm on patients seeking abortion, violating federal constitutional guarantees of privacy and bodily integrity.
For many patients, the procedure being banned is the safest and most appropriate. The law is forcing doctors to stop providing it and forcing patients either to leave the state to obtain it or to forego the care altogether. A new study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that restrictions on abortion like the Kentucky law create barriers to safe care.
This restriction is part of a national strategy to push abortion out of reach. Since January 2011, state politicians have enacted more than 401 new restrictions on abortion that force patients to delay care, shut down clinics, and make abortion care unaffordable. Due in part to these restrictions, Kentucky is one of a handful of states that have only one abortion provider left.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are EMW Women’s Surgical Center, P.S.C., on behalf of itself, its staff, and its patients, as well as two physicians who provide care at EMW, on behalf of themselves and their patients. They are represented by attorneys with the ACLU and the ACLU of Kentucky.