How Kentucky’s Attorney General Could Transform the Enforcement of Pro-Life Laws
In October, the Supreme Court heard an abortion case that didn’t receive much attention in the shadow of Texas’s Heartbeat Act. The case is Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center. And it centers around the pro-life Attorney General for Kentucky, Daniel Cameron, as he fights for the right to defend an existing state law banning Dilation & Evacuation (dismemberment) abortions.
From the SCOTUS Blog…
The case, Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center, arises from a challenge to a Kentucky law, H.B. 454, that generally makes it a crime for doctors to use the “dilation and evacuation” method, the procedure most commonly employed to end a pregnancy during the second trimester. [...]
Cameron went to the Supreme Court in October 2020, asking the justices to weigh in on whether he should have been allowed to intervene and, if so, to send the case back to the lower courts for another look in light of their June 2020 decision in June Medical. In March 2021, the court agreed to take up only the procedural question.
In the Supreme Court, Cameron framed the case as a “dispute about a State’s sovereign ability to defend its laws.” Under Kentucky law, he stressed, the attorney general has “the authority to defend state law when no other official will.”
Arizona and 22 other states filed a “friend of the court” brief supporting Cameron in which they described the question presented by the case as one “of profound substantive importance to our democratic system of governance.” “States,” they wrote, “have a compelling and indisputable sovereign interest in defending the constitutionality of their laws when challenged in federal court.”
While Attorney General Cameron has been lauded a hero by the pro-life movement for refusing to back down, it remains a sad commentary about how abortion laws work in our country. The enforcement of these laws seems to depend completely on who is in power and whether they feel inclined to enforce them. And that is unacceptable.
This instance in Kentucky is the ultimate case study of what happens in states nationwide. In 2018, the Kentucky Legislature passed a law banning violent D&E (dismemberment) abortions. In other words, pro-life Kentuckians elected pro-life legislators who then passed a pro-life law. Naturally, it was challenged by EMW (Kentucky’s primary abortion facility) and other abortion proponents.
At the time, Kentucky’s governor was the pro-life Matt Bevin, who defended the law because the pro-choice attorney general would not. When Bevin was replaced by the pro-abortion Andy Beshear in 2019, the reverse transpired, which is how Daniel Cameron ended up at the Supreme Court this October.
At the end of the day, this Kentucky case study tells us again that abortion is special. Its laws do not play by the same rules as other laws, and its supporters don’t, either. State authorities need to have the right and the freedom to enforce state laws - plain and simple. Because when they don’t, all hell breaks loose. It’s been proven time and time again that pro-abortion officials cannot be trusted to enforce literally any law that curtails abortion at all (even when it stands to protect women).
We anxiously await the results of AG Cameron’s efforts (along with the 22 other states who signed the amicus brief) as a favorable outcome is a substantial win for state’s rights and the ability to actually enforce pro-life laws. And, of course, Reprotection stands ready regardless to catch abortion facilities breaking existing laws and holding them accountable.