Last year, the Kentucky legislature passed a law that banned dilation and evacuation, or D&E, abortion procedures. Immediately, the ACLU vowed to challenge the law on behalf of EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the last abortion facility in the state of Kentucky. While Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin promised to defend the law, a judge struck down the ban this week, declaring it to be unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley ruled the ban is unconstitutional because it restricts abortion before a preborn child is considered viable, which is typically around 24 weeks — although babies have survived and continue to survive weeks younger.
D&E abortions are typically committed in the second trimester, and are violent procedures that take several days. An abortionist first inserts laminaria into the mother’s cervix, and then after one to two days, the woman returns to the abortion facility, where the abortionist will further dilate her cervix, and then uses a sopher clamp to rip the baby apart piece by piece.
The ACLU celebrated the ruling in a statement. “Today’s ruling affirms that health, not politics, will guide important medical decisions about pregnancy,” Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said. “Laws like this are part of an orchestrated national strategy by anti-abortion politicians to push abortion out of reach entirely. Today’s decision holds — in no uncertain terms — that Kentuckians and the care they need come first.”
EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the abortion facility for which the ACLU was fighting, has consistently fought against common-sense regulations. State inspectors have also declared the facility to be “filthy” and to have committed unlicensed abortions using dirty equipment and expired medicines.
Despite the ruling, Bevin has promised to continue fighting to keep the ban in place. “We profoundly disagree with the court’s decision and will take this case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary, to protect unborn children from being dismembered limb by limb while still alive,” communications director Elizabeth Kuhn told the Courier-Journal.
Multiple states have banned this brutal and violent procedure in recent years, which takes place after the preborn child can already feel pain. Using 24 weeks as a benchmark for viability — and thus allowing any abortion to be legal if earlier than that — is arbitrary and meaningless, considering babies are able to survive younger and younger thanks to medical advancements. And ultimately, the point is not if a baby is capable of surviving outside the womb; it is that this is a human being, not a part of his or her mother’s body, who has an intrinsic right to life.
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