A Kentucky judge extended a ban on the state’s trigger law, as well as a six-week abortion ban, claiming they violated the state constitution.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron had announced that Kentucky was one of several states to have a trigger law in place when Roe v. Wade was overturned, which would have protected nearly all preborn lives from abortion. But Planned Parenthood and EMW Women’s Surgical Center quickly sued to block the law, and Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry ruled in their favor, keeping the law from taking effect. He also blocked a six-week abortion ban passed in 2019, which had already been blocked by federal courts. Cameron filed an appeal, but the Supreme Court denied his request to overturn Perry’s ruling.
Friday, Perry extended his ban with a temporary injunction against the laws, building on his previous injunction.
In his ruling, Perry said the trigger law was vague, and that both laws violate women’s rights to privacy and self-determination, equal protection, and religious freedom. Perry also wrote that the court agrees with the abortion facilities that abortion is a form of “health care,” and that “pregnancy, childbirth, and the resulting raising of a child are incredibly expensive.”
“An unplanned pregnancy can also derail a woman’s career or educational trajectory,” he wrote.
Perry further argued that the state’s case of fetal personhood is a religious belief, not one based in science — essentially, Perry claimed that preborn children are not human beings. “They argue that life begins at the moment of fertilization… [h]owever, this is a distinctly Christian and Catholic belief.” He added, “Other faiths hold a wide variety on when life begins and at what point a fetus should be recognized as an independent human being.”
This could not be further from the truth; the notion of fetal personhood is not a religious belief, but a fact based in science. Embryological science has been able to pinpoint the exact moment new life is created — at fertilization — and even found that when it takes place, there is a flash of light. And at the moment of fertilization, the child’s genetic features are immediately in place, completely separate from his mother. He has his own unique DNA strand, and his sex, hair color, eye color, and countless other traits have already been determined. He is a living, growing human being.
Dr. David Prentice, an internationally-recognized expert on stem cell research, cell biology, and bioethics who serves as vice president and research director at Charlotte Lozier Institute, also responded to Perry’s claims about the humanity of preborn children in an e-mailed statement.
“Judge Perry’s ruling ignores not just elementary school biology but also the consensus of more than 5,000 academic biologists from more than 1,000 academic institutions around the world. Yes, Christians believe that life begins at fertilization. So does science!” he said. “In fact, 85 percent of the biologists surveyed self-identify as pro-choice. While politicians and pundits may allow their ideology to override scientific fact, the vast majority of academic biologists do not. Science proves that life begins at fertilization.”
Dr. James L. Sherley, an award-winning stem cell biologist and associate scholar at Charlotte Lozier Institute, also added,
“Religious people get to use science, too,” he said. “My mom is a devout Southern Baptist who believes that a higher power decides when new souls come into the world. Her son is a stem cell biologist who is a Pew Biomedical Research Scholar and a recipient of the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. Her belief does not invalidate my scientific knowledge, and both our religious belief and our knowledge of scientific fact are in agreement. We both know I was a living human being at the moment of fertilization.”
In a statement, Cameron vowed to keep fighting to protect the preborn.
“A Louisville judge’s decision to continue halting Kentucky’s Human Life Protection Act and Heartbeat Law is disappointing, and we will seek appellate relief,” he said. “The Judge’s suggestion that Kentucky’s constitution contains a right to abortion is not grounded in the text and history of our state’s governing document. We will continue our steadfast defense of these bipartisan laws that represent the Commonwealth’s commitment to the lives of the unborn.”
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