AG Cameron sues Ky. health cabinet in dispute over state’s new anti-abortion law

A spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services called the lawsuit “blatant political stunt.”

Attorney General Daniel Cameron has filed suit against Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration, saying it is failing to implement parts of the state’s latest anti-abortion law, which a federal judge has blocked at least temporarily.

Cameron said in a news release that the law requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Servicesto take numerous steps to implement it, including creating and distributing various reporting forms within 60 days of the bill’s effective date, which was April 13; to issue regulations governing distribution and dispensing of abortion-inducing drugs; and to aid in the interment of fetal remains.

“Gov. Beshear has a duty to faithfully execute the law, but he has failed to implement important provisions of House Bill 3. … Failure to act is not an option,” Cameron said in the release.

The release adds that the “federal court has explicitly stated that even though parts of the law are temporarily halted while the litigation proceeds, that does not relieve the cabinet of its obligation to act to fulfill its statutory responsibilities.” 

The cabinet said it has not refused to comply with any requirements that are not blocked in court. 

“This lawsuit is a baseless and blatant political stunt,” cabinet spokeswoman Susan Dunlap said in an e-mail. “The cabinet has not refused to comply with any requirements and has told the attorney general that it will work through the federal court that has jurisdiction over this matter and which has issued an injunction in this case. In response, the attorney general sent threatening letters to the cabinet asking us to ignore the court’s orders and today defied the federal court by trying to go around it.”

Cameron is running for the Republican nomination to oppose Beshear, a Democrat, in the fall 2023 election. The named defendant in the lawsuit is Health Cabinet Secretary Eric Friedlander, in his capacity as secretary. View Cameron’s lawsuit here and his motion for a temporary injunction here.

The law, which was passed over Beshear’s veto, bans mailing of medications that have become the means for most abortions in Kentucky, strengthens parental-consent rules, increases reporting requirements, requires aborted fetuses to be cremated or buried, and bans abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy, mirroring a Mississippi law that is awaiting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

All that said, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that has guaranteed the constitutional right to an abortion until a fetus can live outside the womb, roughly 23 to 24 weeks, all of this becomes a moot point. A leaked draft opinion from the court indicates that is likely, and Kentucky has a “trigger law” that will immediately make all abortions in Kentucky illegal, with some medical exceptions.

AG Cameron sues Ky. health cabinet in dispute over state’s new anti-abortion law

Kentucky Health News

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.