Kentucky judge extends block on state abortion ban

July 22 (Reuters) - A Kentucky judge on Friday extended a block on the state from enforcing a ban on abortions triggered by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last month to overturn its 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade guaranteeing women nationally a right to obtain abortions.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Mitch Perry agreed with two abortion clinics, including a Planned Parenthood affiliate, that the ban and an separate law barring abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy likely violated the state's constitution.

The Louisville judge had previously on June 30 temporarily blocked enforcement of the laws while he considered whether to issue Friday's injunction, which will allow abortion services to continue during the duration of the lawsuit.

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Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is running for governor, in a statement said he would appeal, saying Perry's "suggestion that Kentucky’s constitution contains a right to abortion is not grounded in the text and history of our state's governing document."

The ruling came amid a flurry of litigation by abortion clinics nationally challenging bans and restrictions that began springing into effect in mostly Republican-led states after the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court's June 24 decision.

About half of the states have or are expected to seek to ban or curtail abortions. Those states include Kentucky, which like 12 others adopted "trigger" laws banning or restricting abortion upon Roe v. Wade ever being overturned. read more

But in a 20-page ruling, Perry said there was a substantial likelihood that Kentucky's laws would violate women's rights to privacy and self-determination under the state's constitution as well as rights to equal protection and religious freedom.

He said that state's "trigger" ban was vague and likely an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to the U.S. Supreme Court itself.

"The plaintiffs have demonstrated at the very least a substantial question as to the merits regarding the constitutionality of both the trigger ban and the six week ban," Perry wrote.

Kentuckians will vote in November on a constitutional amendment declaring nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion.

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Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston, Editing by Franklin Paul, Diane Craft and Aurora Ellis

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Nate Raymond reports on the federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at nate.raymond@thomsonreuters.com.