LOUISVILLE-- Trial arguments are now over in the case of Kentucky's controversial abortion law; House Bill 454.
Following the 2018 Legislative Session, Governor Matt Bevin signed a bill that, in effect, ends most second trimester abortions in the Commonwealth. The only abortion clinic in Kentucky, EMW Surgical Center uses what is called a dilation and evacuation method for second trimester abortions. D and E abortions, as they are commonly called, are the most common kind of second trimester abortions.
The law passed says that doctors must do a fetal demise before doing the abortion. None of the doctors at EMW are trained in the procedures for them.
The Commonwealth says the new law is to keep the fetus from dying from a hemmorage, but the ACLU argues this is just Kentucky chipping away at legal abortions in a move to get rid of them.
"We see state after state, I think since 2011, I think 400 anti-abortion restrictions have been attempted to be enacted and of course, all that these laws do is target the most vulnerable among us and take safe and proven health care and put it out of reach and put their health and lives at risk," said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a senior attorney for the ACLU.
However, citing the partial birth abortion ban from 2003, Steve Pitt, the general counsel for Bevin's office, says that isn't the case. Pitt said, "It's not chipping away at Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade has been on the books for 45 years. There have been numerous evolutionary stages in the process there, including the landmark Gonzalez decision 11 years ago that outlawed partial birth abortions."
The judge isn't going to be debating if he agrees with the law. Instead, he will be deciding if women would face an undue burden because of the new law.
Pitt says the evidence will show, they don't. He said, it "Creates no risk, no meaningful risks, that's what the witnesses have said and it would take very little time and effort for the two doctors at EMW to learn the techniques of fetal demise, particularly the injection of digoxin."
Kolbi- Malinas disagreed, saying "These fetal demise methods that the commonwealth wants to force on women are unfeasible, they are unreliable. They require advanced training that physicians simply do not have and in some instances would require and force physicians to experiment on their patients and that is truly the burden that this law would place on women."
While the courtroom arguments are over, the trial itself is far from over. There are two experts left to testify, but both will be testifying on paper rather than in the courtroom. Once that is over, a transcript of the court proceedings will be released to attorneys on both sides. From there, the attorneys will have almost two months to submit post-hearing briefs. After those are received, the attorneys will then have a month to submit briefs for their closing statements.
The judge has said once he has all of the information, he will make his decision quickly. However, even when a decision comes, that won't be the end of the trial. All parties involved say regarless of the judge's ruling, this case will move on to the next court.