- The Washington Times - Friday, April 22, 2022

A federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump blocked Kentucky’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, similar to a Mississippi law that’s being considered by the Supreme Court.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood both sued to halt the law, known as H.B. 3, from taking effect.

Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings said that the legislation puts a substantial obstacle in the way of patients exercising their rights to a “pre-viability abortion.”

“This undue burden on the patients’ rights to a pre-viability abortion would likely violate substantive due process,” wrote Judge Jennings, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in 2018.

Kentucky is the latest state to pass a 15-week abortion ban, as Americans await the high court‘s decision that could upend nearly 50 years of abortion precedent.

The GOP-run Kentucky Legislature passed the law last month, but Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, vetoed it.

The legislature overrode the veto, allowing the abortion restrictions and 15-week ban to take effect. It also imposes restrictions on abortion services such as the use of medical abortions.

The Supreme Court is weighing a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, deciding whether it’s constitutional to limit a woman’s ability to abort a fetus.

The case could upend Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that gave women a national right to an abortion up until viability, which is typically around 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy.

A decision is expected by the end of June.

Conservative lawmakers, who hope the high court will overturn Roe and uphold the Mississippi law, have readied legislation that would crack down on abortion in their states.

Republican lawmakers in Florida, West Virginia and Arizona have passed 15-week abortion bans.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the 15-week ban legislation on Thursday that goes into effect July 1. The ACLU has vowed to challenge that law too. 

Other states, such as Texas, have gone further and have prohibited abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually between six to eight weeks of pregnancy.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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