Abortion in Kentucky

Overview of Kentucky Abortion Ban

On June 24, 2022, a law went into effect that completely banned abortion in Kentucky, with very limited exceptions. This ban makes it illegal for nearly all abortions to be performed in the state.

When Ban Took Effect

Kentucky’s abortion ban went into effect on June 24, 2022 after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. This opened the door for the state’s “trigger law” to go into effect, which had been passed in 2019.

Limited Exceptions

There are only two very narrow exceptions that allow abortion under Kentucky’s ban:

  • To save the pregnant person’s life
  • To prevent serious risk to the pregnant person’s physical health

Getting an Abortion in Kentucky

For most people seeking an abortion in Kentucky, the only option is to travel out of state to obtain care. However, this comes with logistical and financial burdens.

Traveling Out of State

Since abortion is banned in Kentucky, people have to leave the state to access care. This requires time and money for travel.

Making an Appointment

You’ll need to call abortion clinics in other states to try to schedule an appointment. Keep in mind there may be wait times to get an appointment, especially since more people from banned states may be seeking care out of state.

Required Waiting Periods

Some states have mandatory waiting periods, which means you have to have a counseling session, then wait 24-72 hours before the abortion procedure. This means more time you have to be out of state.

Parental Consent

If you are under 18, some states require permission from a parent or guardian. You may be able to get a judicial bypass instead.

Finding a Provider Out of State

Use abortion provider searches to find clinics in states near Kentucky. Call to make an appointment as soon as possible, as wait times may be long.

Assistance Resources

There are funds and practical support resources available if you travel out of state. This assistance can help with costs for the procedure, transportation, lodging, childcare, and more.

Kentucky Abortion Laws

Below are the key details on Kentucky’s abortion ban that is currently in effect.

Current Law Status

Kentucky has a total abortion ban, except for extremely limited exceptions. Abortion is considered a felony offense.

Total Ban Details

When Ban Took Effect

The total ban went into effect on June 24, 2022 after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Limited Exceptions

The only exceptions are if an abortion is medically necessary to save the pregnant person’s life or prevent risk of physical impairment. Almost all elective abortions are banned.

Impacts of Kentucky Abortion Ban

Kentucky’s total abortion ban, coupled with bans in surrounding states, critically restricts access to care and has devastating impacts.

Travel Burdens

Since abortion is illegal in Kentucky, people have to travel long distances out of state to access care. This results in serious burdens.

Time Off Work

Patients have to take extra time off work to travel and get childcare. This may jeopardize their jobs.


Traveling hundreds of miles each way for care is expensive, practically difficult for those without reliable cars.


Finding and paying for extended childcare also presents challenges for patients.

Financial Burdens

In addition to travel costs, getting out-of-state abortion care can have high out-of-pocket costs.

Procedure Costs

The cost of the abortion itself can be very expensive depending on the clinic and type of procedure.

Travel Expenses

There are costs for gas, flights, buses, hotels, meals, and other travel expenses.


If the procedure is multi-day, lodging is required which is very expensive.

Emotional Burdens

On top of the logistical struggles, Kentucky’s abortion ban results in enormous emotional burdens.

Making Difficult Decisions

Patients have to make difficult choices about how to obtain care in inaccessible situations.

Fear of Legal Consequences

Providers and patients also face fear of criminalization for illegal abortions.

See also  how many months can you get pregnant after abortion


Kentucky’s near-total abortion ban critically restricts essential healthcare in the state and region. However, supporting advocacy organizations, legal challenges, and pro-choice political candidates offers some hope for possible change so people can access abortion care where they live.


Q: When did Kentucky’s abortion ban go into effect?

A: Kentucky’s trigger law banning abortion went into effect on June 24, 2022 after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Q: Are there any exceptions to Kentucky’s abortion ban?

A: There are only extremely limited exceptions to save the life/health of the pregnant person. Almost all abortions are banned.

Q: Do you have to leave Kentucky to get an abortion?

A: Yes, you have to travel out of state to obtain an abortion, except in exceedingly rare life-threatening situations.

Q: What types of burdens do Kentucky patients face getting abortions?

A: They face travel difficulties, financial hardships, taking time off work, finding childcare, and heartbreaking personal decisions.

Q: Is there any chance Kentucky’s abortion ban could change?

A: There is a possibility it could change in the future via legal challenges, elections, new legislation, etc. But the current ban is in effect.

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