Kentucky Lawmakers Block Abortion Access With New Law, Effective Immediately

April 13 (Reuters) – Kentucky effectively suspended legal access to abortion on Wednesday as the legislature enacted a sweeping anti-abortion law that took effect immediately and requires providers to stop offering abortions until so that they can meet certain requirements.

The law’s impact makes Kentucky the first U.S. state without legal access to abortion since the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade case that established the right to terminate a pregnancy before the fetus is born. viable, according to abortion providers.

Abortion rights groups said they would challenge the bill in court.

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The law imposes requirements that state clinics say make it too difficult and logistically expensive to operate, including a provision requiring fetal remains to be cremated or buried.

It requires the issuance of a combined birth-death or stillbirth certificate for each abortion and prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, vetoed the bill Friday, but the Republican-majority House and Senate overruled his veto Wednesday night.

In his veto letter, Beshear expressed concern that the bill did not include exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or incest and said it was “probably unconstitutional” in because of the demands it placed on service providers.

“Rape and incest are violent crimes. Victims of these crimes should have options,” Beshear wrote.

On Wednesday, the legislature overturned several other Beshear vetoes, including a bill banning trans girls from playing women’s sports.

Two provisions of abortion law prevent state abortion clinics from operating, according to Planned Parenthood Kentucky State Director Tamarra Wieder.

The first is a requirement that the State Board of Pharmacy certify providers who dispense abortion pills. Until abortion providers are certified, they are not allowed to offer medical abortions.

The second is a requirement that fetal remains be cremated or buried, placing logistical and financial burdens on clinics that they cannot sustain.

The bill also bans telehealth for medical abortions, requiring an in-person medical visit for patients seeking pill termination.

Republican-led states have rapidly passed increasingly strict abortion bans this year, in hopes that an impending U.S. Supreme Court ruling could help the bans withstand legal challenges. On Tuesday, Oklahoma’s governor signed a near-total abortion ban that is set to go into effect in August.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule by the end of June on a case involving a Republican-backed Mississippi law that gives its conservative majority a chance to undermine or even repeal the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade who legalized abortion nationwide.

During oral arguments in the case, the conservative justices signaled their willingness to drastically restrict abortion rights in the United States.

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Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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