Quick Takes

Kentucky woman who sued for right to abortion now carrying embryo with no ‘cardiac activity’

By: - December 12, 2023 10:08 am

Planned Parenthood’s Louisville health clinic. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Deborah Yetter)

Four days after a Kentucky woman sued for the right to an abortion, her lawyers said the embryo she carried “no longer had cardiac activity” as of Monday morning.

A spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky declined to say whether Jane Doe, as the woman is called in her suit, will now be able to access abortion or if the case will proceed. 

Doe filed a class action lawsuit against Attorney General Daniel Cameron and others in Jefferson County Circuit Court to challenge the state’s near total abortion bans on Friday, the first lawsuit of its kind in Kentucky.  

At the time of the filing, Doe said she was eight weeks pregnant but did not want to be. Lawyers argued the state’s abortion bans, which do not offer exceptions for rape or incest, violated Doe’s right to privacy and self determination. 

Kentucky does allow for an exception to “prevent death or substantial risk of death” or “to prevent serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman.” However, the same law directs physicians to “make reasonable efforts” to save both the pregnant person and the embryo. 

 This story may update. 


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.