Hawaii Attorney General Clare E. Connors is part of a coalition of 19 attorneys general confronting a Kentucky abortion law.

According to a press release Wednesday, the law imposes civil and criminal penalties on doctors “who perform the standard dilation and evacuation procedure, requiring Kentucky physicians to terminate the fetal heartbeat using risky, difficult, and potentially ineffective procedures prior to the evacuation phase of a standard dilation and evacuation abortion.”

The AG’s office says that standard D&E procedures are “widely regarded as the safest and most common method” of second-trimester abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“This regulation is unconstitutional because it bans a safe and common procedure available to women,” said Connors. “Hawaii joined this amicus brief because of its long-standing commitment to defending woman’s access to healthcare.”

Attorney General Clare Connors.

Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors has joined with other states to challenge a Kentucky abortion law.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The legal brief is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and includes the support of the AGs for California, Illinois and Massachusetts.

They argue that, under the Supreme Court’s controlling “undue burden” standard, an abortion regulation is unconstitutional “when its benefits to a state interest are not sufficient to justify the law’s burdens on abortion access.”

In May a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the 2018 Kentucky law was unconstitutional. Kentucky appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

The legal challenge comes as the number and rate of abortions across the United States “have plunged to their lowest levels” since the procedure became legal nationwide in 1973. That’s according to The Associated Press.

In an another move, Connors on Wednesday also joined a coalition of 15 attorneys general urging the Trump administration “to immediately comply” with a court-ordered injunction ordering cost-free birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor websites currently state that employers can “opt out” of providing contraceptive coverage, according to the AG’s office.

“The federal government is not in compliance with the court-ordered injunction,” said Connors in a press release. “Multiple federal agencies are in violation and doing a disservice to the country.”

Before you go . . .

During this unique election season, we appreciate that you and others like you have relied on Civil Beat for accurate, objective coverage of the candidates and their races.

Covering the pandemic has taken a lot of our collective energy. But through it all, our small team of reporters made sure you didn’t forget about electoral politics. Because we know that elections not only test society’s participation in our democracy, but journalism’s commitment to safeguarding it.

If you’ve relied on our election coverage this season, please consider making a tax-deductible gift to support our newsroom.

About the Author