Federal judge strikes down Kentucky law outlawing most second-trimester abortions
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin

On Friday, federal judge Joseph H. McKinley struck down a law in Kentucky that would have banned "dilation and evacuation," a procedure used for almost all abortions performed in the second trimester.


The law, passed in 2018 and signed by right-wing Gov. Matt Bevin, was ruled a "substantial obstacle" that would "unduly burden" a woman's right to an abortion, putting it in violation of the Supreme Court's ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The law was on hold due to a consent order obtained by the state's sole abortion clinic.

The procedure, which involves dilating the cervix and surgically removing its contents, was used in 537 of 3,312 abortions performed in Kentucky in 2016, including nearly every second-trimester abortion. ACLU attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas testified that the ban would "all but eliminate" abortions for women with pregnancies past 14 weeks.

Kentucky's law is one of a number of new restrictions on abortion passed by states, emboldened by President Donald Trump's right-wing takeover of the federal judiciary, including near-total bans on the procedure passed by Georgia and Ohio.