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Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)

Kentucky imposes extra restrictions on abortion providers, despite the fact that all health-care providers already must comply with a variety of federal and state regulations governing health, safety, building and fire codes, and zoning requirements.  

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

Kentucky places medically unnecessary restrictions on where abortion services may be provided.

Providers of abortion services at any stage of pregnancy-including private physicians-must comply with a uniquely imposed licensure scheme not required of other medical providers.  Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 216B.015, 216B.020(2)(b) (Original Statute Enacted 1980; Relevant Provision Enacted 1998), Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann §§ 216B.0431 (Enacted 1998), 216B.0435 (Enacted 1998); 902 Ky. Admin. Regs. 20:360.

Every abortion facility must enter into a written agreement with a hospital and an ambulance service in which the hospital and ambulance service each agree in advance to accept and treat patients if complications arise.  Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 216B.0435 (Enacted 1998).  Nothing in the statute requires hospitals or ambulance services to agree to enter into such agreements.

Providers are subject to unannounced inspections at any time.  902 Ky. Admin. Regs. 20:360 § 2(4)(a); Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 216B.042(2) (Original Statute Enacted 1982; Relevant Provision Enacted 1994).  The regulations make no reference to patient privacy or confidentiality.

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

Kentucky prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services.

Only a physician licensed by the state to practice medicine or osteopathy, or the woman upon herself upon the advice of a licensed physician during the first trimester, may provide abortion.  Only a licensed physician may provide abortion after the first trimester.  Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 311.750 (Enacted 1974), Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 311.760 (Enacted 1974; Last Amended 1982), Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 311.720(9) (Enacted 1974; Last Amended 1982).  An additional statute provides that only a physician may provide abortion services.  Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 311.723(1) (Enacted 1982).  A court has ruled that this provision is unconstitutional because it conflicts with §311.760, which allows the woman to terminate a pregnancy herself during the first trimester, thereby subjecting the physician and woman to confusion and uncertainty regarding their rights.  Eubanks v. Brown, 604 F. Supp. 141 (W.D. Ky. 1984).

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