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Bevin administration opposes motion for preliminary injunction on bill banning abortion procedure


By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Bevin administration attorneys have filed a brief on behalf of acting Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Scott Brinkman, opposing a motion for a preliminary injunction in federal court filed by the ACLU and Louisville abortion clinic EMW Women’s Surgical Center that would delay the enforcement of House Bill 454, which bans one form of abortion in Kentucky.

Gov. Matt Bevin

The legislation, passed by the 2018 General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin, bans the procedure known as dilatation and evacuation, or D&E, which dismembers the fetus after the 11th week of pregnancy.

According to the filing, HB 454 makes the distinction that it “prohibits abortion providers in Kentucky from dismembering a living, unborn child after the unborn child reaches 11 weeks of postfertilization age. The key word is ‘living.’ In outlawing this brutal practice, the General Assembly recognized that, by the end of 10 weeks, the unborn child has fingers, hands, arms, toes, feet, legs, eyelids and ears, confirming that the unborn child is, in fact, a human being.”

The brief also argues that without HB 454, unborn children will continue to be torn limb from limb while still alive, a practice that “would be punishable as a crime were the subject an animal rather than an unborn human.” It further asserts that the law is in the best interest of the state because it protects the dignity of the unborn and ensures that the ethics of the medical profession in Kentucky reflect the values of the commonwealth.

“This gruesome procedure, which rips apart alive, unborn child, is antithetical to everything that we stand for as a civilized society,” said Steve Pitt, Gov. Bevin’s general counsel. “HB 454 recognizes the dignity of human life and provides an alternative method for performing dilation and evacuation abortions that does not subject the unborn to the torture and agony of being dismembered while alive.”

The filing also notes that federal law bans partial-birth abortions and was upheld by the US Supreme Court in a 2007 case.

The governor’s attorneys cited from that case saying, “Partial birth abortions, or ‘Intact D&Es,’ involve extracting the fetus intact or largely intact and then piercing or crushing the living fetus’s skull.” They maintain the procedure addressed by HB 454 differs in form, but not substance, from an intact D&E.

No date has been set when a hearing on the motion will be held at U.S. District Court in Louisville.


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