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Restrictions on Low-Income Women's Access to Abortion

Kentucky prohibits public funding for abortion for women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care unless the procedure is necessary to preserve the life of a woman or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  KyHealth Choices Member Handbook, at 18 (Last updated Dec. 3, 2007) at; Dep't for Medicaid Servs., Hospital Services Manual, Section IV, Program Coverage, Transmittal #19, 43 (Apr. 21, 1993); Dep't for Medicaid Servs., Physician Manual, Section IV, Program Coverage, Transmittal #26, 4.30 (Mar. 30, 1999); Dep't for Medicaid Servs., Certification Form for Induced Abortion or Induced Miscarriage, MAP-235 (Feb. 2000); Dep't for Medicaid Servs., Physician's Certification Regarding an Abortion Procedure Performed for the Purpose of Terminating a Pregnancy Caused by an Act of Rape or Incest (undated).

An invalid and enjoined statute provides that a woman eligible for state medical assistance may not obtain public funds to pay for an abortion unless the procedure is necessary to preserve her life.  Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 311.715 (Enacted 1980; Last Amended 1984).

In 1994, the Kentucky attorney general issued an opinion stating that the statute should not be enforced because it conflicted with federal law requiring state Medicaid programs to provide funding for the termination of pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.  Ky. Op. Att'y Gen. No. 94-4 (Feb. 2, 1994).  Two years later, a court agreed, issuing a permanent injunction prohibiting enforcement of the statute to the extent that it conflicts with federal law.  Hope v. Childers, No. 3:95CV-518-A (W.D. Ky. Feb. 2, 1996).

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