WASHINGTON — The nation’s highest court heard arguments Tuesday in a case involving an abortion law in Kentucky. The case before the U.S. Supreme Court was not about abortion rights directly but rather it was focused on a procedural matter.
The justices are now considering if Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron can step in to defend an abortion law that was already struck down in lower courts. In 2018, Kentucky state lawmakers passed a law that banned a common second-trimester abortion method known as “dilation and evacuation.”
As the arguments were underway in court, a small group of pro-life protesters gathered outside the courthouse.
“We are the pro-life generation,” the crowd chanted.
“We need to defend the rights of unborn children,” said protester Angela Williams, the president and co-founder of ‘Sisters for Life.’
Cameron’s office argued that Kentucky state law gives his office the right to defend the abortion law.
“Federal courts should respect how a state structures itself when defending its laws,” said Deputy Solicitor General Matt Kuhn during arguments in court.
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued that Cameron’s office didn’t try to defend the law in a timely fashion and urged the Supreme Court to keep the lower courts’ ruling in place.
“He was aware that the argument had been waived but did nothing to try to raise it before the Court of Appeals ruled,” argued Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.
After arguments wrapped up, Kuhn told reporters the case comes down to states’ rights.
“That’s how we view this case, as one of a state simply defending itself,” said Kuhn.
Pro-choice advocates, meanwhile, argue the implications of this case go far beyond just a procedural issue.
“While the question before the court may not be one of abortion law, this case cannot be separated from the fight to oppose efforts by anti-abortion politicians to push abortion out of reach and erode reproductive freedom in this country,” Kolbi-Molinas said.
In December, the Supreme Court will take up a major abortion rights case that asks the court to consider overturning the landmark case Roe v. Wade in a case that stems from Mississippi.
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