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A judge has stopped the US state of Kentucky from imposing a nearly complete ban on abortion.
A law promulgated there in 2019 proposed to stop almost all layoffs in the event of Roe vs. Wade – which gave women the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy – was struck down.
The Supreme Court of the United States voted to do it on Friday.
Under so-called trigger provisions, abortions in Kentucky ended abruptly the same day.
Since then, nearly 200 women with scheduled appointments have been turned away from an abortion clinic in Louisville, according to American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorney Heather Gatnarek.
Women are “forced to carry pregnancies against their will”, the activists said.
Judge Mitch Perry issued a temporary restraining order after being approached by two clinics, paving the way for abortions to resume.
The clinics challenged the near total ban and another law that prohibits terminations after six weeks of pregnancy.
The law that was triggered on Friday has very limited medical exceptions, allowing termination only to prevent a woman’s death or serious and permanent injury.
It does not allow abortions in cases of rape or incest.
The situation in Kentucky echoes across the country.
In Florida, Circuit Court Judge John Cooper said he would accept a petition from abortion rights groups to enact a state law temporarily banning abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
Lawyers for the two Kentucky clinics argued that the state constitution protects the right to abortion.
But Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron argues that such a constitutional right does not exist.
Judge Perry heard submissions from both sides before making his order.
“We are pleased the court has recognized the devastation occurring in Kentucky,” Planned Parenthood and the ACLU said in a joint statement.
“Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade last Friday, many Kentuckians have been forced to carry pregnancies against their will or flee their homelands in search of essential care. Despite this victory, we know that this fight is far from over.”
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