EMW buffer zone will not be enforced until judge weighs in

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – The contentious “buffer zone” surrounding EMW Women’s Surgical center, one of two women’s health clinics providing abortions in Kentucky, will not be enforced on July 16 as originally agreed by both parties in an ongoing lawsuit.

Kentucky Right to Life and Sisters for Life, a pro-life sidewalk counseling ministry, contested the ordinance in Western District Court on June 8, citing  it infringed upon their constitutional rights of free speech and free exercise of religion. Attorneys agreed to postpone enforcement of the buffer zone until July 16 so both parties could compile briefs.

Thursday the defendants, which include Louisville Metro Government, Mayor Greg Fischer, Chief of Police Erika Shields and Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell, agreed not to enforce the buffer zone ordinance while the case is still pending in court.

“Kentucky Right to Life and our pro-woman, pro-life advocates are pleased that our pursuit of litigation has resulted in the city permitting sidewalk counseling ministry to continue by extending the temporary emergency injunction as we await Judge Jennings’ decision on the matter,” said Addia Wuechner, executive director of Kentucky Right to Life.

According to an agreed order submitted in Western District Court Thursday, both parties stated all filed motions were “ripe for adjudication.” This includes a preliminary injunction for the pro-life groups, as well as the city’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

For the case to move forward, Judge Rebecca Jennings will need to rule on all filed motions. Until then, pro-life sidewalk counseling can continue outside of EMW.

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