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A judge in Kentucky blocks 2 state laws that stopped abortions

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Starting today, abortion providers in Kentucky can resume procedures. A Kentucky judge put the commonwealth's abortion ban on hold, at least for now. From member station WUKY, Karyn Czar reports.

KARYN CZAR, BYLINE: After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade one week ago, a trigger law passed by Kentucky legislators in 2019 immediately went into effect. It essentially halted all abortions in the state unless a mother's life was at risk. The ACLU of Kentucky filed a lawsuit on behalf of EMW Women's Surgical Center and Planned Parenthood, the state's only two abortion providers. On Thursday, Judge Mitch Perry granted a request for a temporary suspension of the trigger law. Tamarra Wieder is the state director of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates in Louisville.

TAMARRA WIEDER: We're here to send a clear message. The ability to control your own body and make your own medical decisions is a fundamental human right.

CZAR: David Walls, the executive director of the Family Foundation in Kentucky, called the decision, quote, "egregiously wrong."

DAVID WALLS: There are lives that are going to be lost because this judge took this action. And so that is certainly extremely disappointing and just tragic.

CZAR: When the Supreme Court decision came down last week, Amber Duke, interim executive director of the ACLU of Kentucky, said EMW Women's Surgical Center canceled 199 upcoming appointments, and 15 patients waiting for procedures were sent home, many leaving in tears.

AMBER DUKE: Our clients had to turn people away and tell people who were there for appointments that they could not receive care.

CZAR: Both of Kentucky's providers have been guiding women to neighboring states for care. Kentucky Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a staunch anti-abortion supporter, declined to be interviewed following Thursday's ruling but said they'd fight. Both sides will be back in a Kentucky courtroom next Wednesday.

For NPR News, I'm Karyn Czar in Lexington, Ky. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Karyn Czar