EMW Women’s Surgical Center v. Beshear (2019)


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Kentucky filed a lawsuit on behalf of abortion providers challenging HB 5, a Kentucky law that makes it a felony to perform an abortion if the pregnant person is seeking it because of the sex, race, color, national origin, or disability of the fetus.

The complaint was amended to include a challenge against SB 9, a state law that prohibits the performance of an abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected—effectively banning abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

In regard to HB 5, plaintiffs allege that prying into the reasons for a patient’s decision and taking away their right to make the ultimate decision whether to continue their pregnancy, violates the Fourteenth Amendment right to privacy and autonomy and will inflict irreparable harm.

According to Plaintiffs, the ban is unconstitutional because it prohibits abortion, under certain circumstances, prior to viability.

As for SB 9, Plaintiffs argue the near-total abortion ban is unconstitutional because it prohibits abortion before the point of fetal viability, thus violating the patient’s due process rights.


STATUS

On March 15, 2019, District Court Judge David J. Hale issued a temporary restraining order enjoining SB 9—the “heartbeat” ban—from taking effect.

On March 20, 2019, District Court Judge David J. Hale issued a temporary restraining order enjoining HB 5—the selective abortion ban—from taking effect.


Key Documents

Complaint – March 14, 2019

TRO request – March 14, 2019

Amended complaint/TRO – March 15, 2019

Order granting TRO for SB 9 – March 15, 2019

Order granting TRO for HB 5 – March 20, 2019


Laws

Organizations