Statement from Attorney General Cameron Regarding the Continuation of Abortions During the COVID-19 State of Emergency
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 27, 2020) — Attorney General Daniel Cameron today released the following statement regarding Kentucky’s abortion providers continuing to perform abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, I’m calling on CHFS Acting Secretary Eric Friedlander to certify, pursuant to KRS 15.241, that Kentucky’s abortion providers are violating his ban on elective medical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to perform abortions. Kentucky’s current ban on elective medical procedures exists to further the mandated policy of social distancing and to help conserve medical resources for use in fighting COVID-19.
Acting Secretary Friedlander is on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am confident that he understands, better than anyone, the necessity of ending abortion procedures during this health crisis. His certification will immediately trigger action by our office to stop elective procedures during the pandemic.
Abortion providers should join the thousands of other medical professionals across the state in ceasing elective procedures, unless the life of the mother is at risk, to protect the health of their patients and slow the spread of the coronavirus.
On March 14, Governor Beshear recommended that hospitals cease performing elective procedures. Subsequently, on March 23, Acting Secretary Friedlander ordered all “non-emergent, non-urgent in-person medical, surgical, dental, and any other healthcare practice or procedure” to cease. As explained by Acting Secretary Friedlander, the outbreak of COVID-19 is “a public health emergency.” Therefore, “[a]ggressive social distancing measures have been mandated by emergency order as a necessary measure to limit and contain the spread of the COVID-19 infection.”
For more information, contact Elizabeth Kuhn, 502-696-5300.
Ky. Revised Statute 15.241 states: The Attorney General, upon certification by the secretary of the Cabinet for Health Services, shall seek injunctive relief in a course of proper jurisdiction to prevent violations of the provisions of KRS Chapter 216B regarding abortion facilities or the administrative regulations promulgated in furtherance thereof in cases where other administrative penalties and legal sanctions imposed have failed to prevent or cause a discontinuance of the violation. (Effective: July 15, 1998, amended 2005)
It is KRLA’s understanding that if there are violations and the (acting) secretary certifies, then the AG is required to seek injunctive relief. If there are violations and the (acting) secretary does not certify, the AG has discretion whether to seek the relief.
HB451 would further amend KRS 15.241 “to seek injunctive relief as well as civil or criminal penalties for violations of KRS Chapter 216B relating to abortion facilities and KRS 311.720 to 311.830 relating to abortions; provide that, in the absence of certification, the Attorney General may seek injunctive relief as well as civil or criminal penalties.”
The next date that the General Assembly will convene is Wednesday, April 1. We believe our pro-life legislators will pass HB451. But would Gov. Beshear sign it into law?