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Supreme Court to decide whether Kentucky’s GOP attorney general can defend restrictive abortion law


A person walks previous barbed wire and safety fencing because it surrounds the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, January 26, 2021.

Al Drago | Reuters

The Supreme Court stated Monday that it’ll hear a plea from the Republican attorney general of Kentucky to permit him to defend a state law limiting a kind of abortion process incessantly focused by conservatives.

Anti-abortion advocates have hoped that the Supreme Court, which now has a 6-Three majority of Republican-appointed justices, will curtail previous circumstances increasing the fitting to abortion.

The Kentucky case, nonetheless, is over a extra slender authorized concern and is unlikely to have broader ramifications on legal guidelines affecting reproductive rights.

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The invoice, often called HB 454, regulates “dilation and evacuation,” a standard abortion methodology typically used within the second trimester. It handed in 2018.

Kentucky’s solely licensed abortion clinic, EMW Women’s Surgical Center, challenged HB 454. The clinic sued the state’s attorney general — who on the time was Democrat Andy Beshear — in addition to the state’s secretary of well being and household companies. The well being secretary led the protection of the law after Beshear requested to be dismissed as a defendant.

A district court docket struck down the law. That choice was affirmed by the sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court docket cited the 2016 Supreme Court case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. While the case was being argued, Republican Daniel Cameron succeeded Beshear as Kentucky attorney general, and Beshear was elected governor.

Kentucky’s well being secretary determined not to attraction the case after shedding on the sixth Circuit. Cameron tried to intervene within the case so as to achieve this, however the appeals court docket rejected his effort, reasoning that he was too late.

In his petition with the justices, Cameron argued that the appeals court docket’s rejection of his effort “is an affront to state sovereignty.”

“The Sixth Circuit closed the courthouse doors to the very person that Kentucky law empowers to represent the Commonwealth’s interests in court,” Cameron wrote within the submitting.

Cameron additionally argued that an attraction was probably to succeed because of the Supreme Court’s choice in June Medical Services v. Russo in 2020. June Medical Services might have restricted the scope of the court docket’s earlier choice in Whole Woman’s Health.

EMW Women’s Surgical Center, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, had urged the justices not to take the case.

In a authorized transient, the clinic wrote that the attorney general “had previously agreed to be dismissed from the case and to be bound by the judgment” and “could have sought to intervene earlier.”

The clinic added that whereas the case was tangentially associated to abortion, it was not an abortion dispute.

“While the merits of this case concern the constitutionality of an abortion law, the issue presented by this petition is only whether a motion to intervene was timely filed,” it wrote.

The Supreme Court will contemplate the case in its time period starting within the fall, and a choice is probably going to come by the summer season of 2022.

The case is Daniel Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center, No. 20-601.



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