Kentucky’s Republican attorney general laid out his strategy for championing his state’s overturned abortion law in court on Wednesday, calling his office “the last line of defense” that blocks second-trimester procedures to terminate pregnancies. Will do
Attorney General Daniel Cameron said his first goal is to persuade the US Supreme Court to defend the 2018 law, which was previously rejected by lower courts. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the procedural dispute and scheduled a hearing for next Tuesday.
Addressing anti-abortion advocates in light rain outside the state capitol, Cameron said they should have the opportunity to “make sure we exhaust all avenues to defend our laws.”
“We’re going to honor life here in Kentucky,” Cameron told the people gathered. “We’re going to protect those who can’t speak for themselves. And I think it is an important responsibility of the government, to make sure that we are looking out for the most vulnerable. “
The controversial Kentucky law took aim at an abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation,” in which embryos are removed with instruments. Anti-abortion anti-abortion calls it “barbaric and gruesome”. Abortion-rights advocates say it is a safe way to terminate a pregnancy.
According to a report in the Courier Journal newspaper, the procedure accounted for nearly 300 of the 3,200 abortions performed in Kentucky in 2018, the year the law was passed.
If Cameron prevails on the procedural issue, he said, he wants to give the law a second chance before the Sixth 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 ruling.
Opponents of the law include the American Civil Liberties Union. Alexa Colby-Molinas, senior staff attorney for the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, declared it “good enough” to back down against Cameron’s defense efforts.
“Two courts have already held that the law violates the rights of Kentuckians,” Colby-Molinas said in a statement on Wednesday. “The Supreme Court must end the Attorney General’s efforts to force people to continue pregnancies against their will. Politicians across the country are using every tool in the shed to make abortion further out of reach “
Elsewhere, a federal judge is deciding whether to block the country’s most restrictive abortion law, which has banned most abortions in Texas since early September. Some women ban abortions, usually around six weeks, after cardiac activity is detected before they know they are pregnant. The Texas law is one of the laws setting up the largest test of abortion rights in the US in decades – part of a broader push by Republicans nationwide to introduce new restrictions on abortion.
Setting aside the Kentucky law, a federal district judge said it would create a “substantial barrier” to a woman’s right to an abortion, violating constitutionally protected privacy rights.
Cameron’s appeal on the procedural issue stemmed from changes at the top of Kentucky Gov.
The controversial law was endorsed by former Governor Matt Bevin, an anti-abortion Republican who was ousted in the 2019 election by Democrat Andy Beshear who supports abortion rights. Beshear’s administration decided to drop the case after the 6th Circuit panel ruled against the law.
Cameron, who succeeded Beshear as attorney general, tried to intervene in hopes of appealing the case. The Sixth Circuit rejected his request, saying that his attempt to intervene was too late, but the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
The state’s principal deputy attorney general Matt Kuhn will argue Cameron’s case before the Supreme Court next week.
“If we ultimately win, the court will say without question that a state has the right to defend itself with an official representative of its choice,” Cameron said on Wednesday. Here in Kentucky the Attorney General’s office stands as a fail safe to ensure that the laws of the Commonwealth can always be defended.
Some prominent Kentucky lawmakers defined it as a matter of state sovereignty for Cameron’s office to be able to protect the legislature’s functions.
“It’s all about sovereignty and … who in the public square has the right to protect the laws of a particular state,” said Republican State Representative Joseph Fischer.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Daniel Cameron