Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

A class-action lawsuit filed by a Kentucky woman on Friday seeks to overturn the state’s abortion restrictions. Represented by the ACLU, her suit has been joined by Planned Parenthood. In a statement announcing the lawsuit, the woman said, “I am angry that now that I am pregnant and do not want to be, the government is interfering in my private matters and blocking me from having an abortion.”

It is sad that an expecting mother would hold such animus towards her unborn child. The case pits the desires of the mother against the interest of a very young and very vulnerable human being. This eight-week-old does not have a voice and cannot make a case to defend itself. For many of us born before 1973, the law protected us and recognized our humanity while we were still in our mothers’ wombs. But in the topsy-turvy post-truth world of 2023, life hangs on the subjectivist arguments of Planned Parenthood, which cannot bring itself to use the term “mother” but instead refers to “persons having babies.”

Planned Parenthood has perennially opposed reasonable restrictions on abortion. It tried to kill  the Human Rights of the Unborn Act (2019), which banned targeted abortions based on race, ethnicity, gender, and disability. They opposed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (2017), which banned abortions at 20 weeks because unborn babies are extremely sensitive to pain. They opposed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act (2020, passed in 2021), which protected babies who survived an abortion attempt. Now they’ve filed suit against Kentucky’s Trigger Law which bans most abortions except to preserve the mothers life, and the Heartbeat Law, which recognizes a human life once a heartbeat is detected, usually at six weeks.

So why should we believe any ideologically driven group that defends the unthinkable? A group that spent millions to defeat Kentucky’s Amendment 2 last year and financially benefits from legalized abortion is not seeking change based on altruism.  In fact, we delude ourselves if we think that Planned Parenthood and the ACLU will be satisfied with simply legalizing first trimester abortions.

In the legal brief, Jane Doe asserts that “this is my decision, not the government’s or any other person’s.” When did it become a valid “decision” to end the innocent life of another human being? The question for each of us is can we live with ourselves in a society that treats human life so cheaply? It’s heartless to tell the troubled mom, “just get an abortion.” The compassionate society does better.

People of goodwill and compassion recognize the vulnerable and protect them, whether at eight weeks gestation or eight weeks after birth. The good society sympathizes with pregnant women who need help and comes to their aid. It doesn’t add trauma to trauma. And it doesn’t pick and choose which lives are worthy of protection and which lives are not. The compassionate society is based on objective truths and pursues justice for the least among us.

Section I of Kentucky’s Constitution says “All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned:  First: The right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties.” It does not say whether that life is inside the womb or outside the womb or the circumstances of their conception. Nor does it say how old that person must be. It simply says that the right to life is a fundamental right. And for most of our history, legal protections have been extended to the unborn. We hope that the Jefferson County’s circuit judge hearing this case sees it that way.

*This lawsuit has now been dropped. However, we expect a similar challenge in the future.