Kentucky‘s Republican attorney general Daniel Cameron will
battle it out in court to defend a state law to end an abortion procedure that
accounted for less than 10% of total abortions in the state the year it was
Cameron called his office the “last line of
defense” for the measure that would block a second-trimester procedure of
“dilation and evacuation” to end pregnancies.
Cameron said his first goal is to persuade the US Supreme
Court to let him defend the 2018 law, which was previously struck down by lower
courts. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the procedural dispute and scheduled a
hearing on Tuesday.
Addressing anti-abortion advocates in a light rain outside
the state Capitol, Cameron said he should have the opportunity to “make
sure that we exhaust all avenues in defending our laws.”
“We’re going to respect life here in Kentucky. We’re
going to protect those who cannot speak for themselves. And I think that is an
important responsibility of government, to make sure that we’re looking out for
the most vulnerable,” Cameron said, according to the Associated Press.
Also read: Lawsuit in Illinois to abort the abortion law in Texas
The disputed Kentucky law is regarding an abortion procedure
known as “dilation and evacuation,” in which the fetus is removed
with instruments. Abortion opponents call it “barbaric and gruesome.”
Abortion-rights supporters say it’s a safe method for terminating a pregnancy.
The procedure accounted for about 300 of the 3,200 abortions
performed in Kentucky in 2018, the year the law was passed, according to a
report in the Courier-Journal newspaper.
If Cameron prevails on the procedural issue, he said, he
wants to give the law a second chance before the 6th US Circuit Court of
Appeals in Cincinnati. The law was struck down by a federal district judge in
Kentucky in 2019, and a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit upheld that
In striking down the Kentucky law, the federal district judge
said it would create a “substantial obstacle” to a woman’s right to
an abortion, violating constitutionally protected privacy rights.
The disputed law was backed by former Governor Matt Bevin,
an anti-abortion Republican. Then Democrat
Andy Beshear won the 2019 elections and
he supports abortion rights. Beshear’s administration decided to drop the case
after the 6th Circuit panel ruled against the law.
Cameron succeeded Beshear as attorney general and then
tried to intervene in hopes of appealing the case. The 6th Circuit rejected his
request, saying his attempt to intervene came too late, but the Supreme Court
agreed to hear the matter.
Matt Kuhn, the state’s principal deputy solicitor general,
will argue Cameron’s case before the Supreme Court next week.