New Statewide Campaign Shines Light on Consequences of Kentucky’s Abortion Ban


LEXINGTON — Today, advocates and medical professionals in Kentucky gathered to launch a new statewide campaign aimed at raising awareness about the dire consequences of Kentucky’s restrictive abortion ban.

The campaign, which includes two mobile billboard trucks that will be visible in Frankfort, Lexington, and Bowling Green over the next several weeks, marks the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade—a decision that has had profound implications for reproductive rights in Kentucky.

The mobile billboard trucks, five rural billboards, and a variety of digital ads will feature messages that call attention to the harmful effects these bans have on the medical community and the broader population as well as urging Kentuckians to sign a pledge calling for an end to the state’s restrictive abortion laws. 

“Kentucky’s cruel abortion ban isn’t just forcing countless women to flee the state to get legal and safe abortion care. It's also driving away the next generation of doctors, nurses, and medical students who are unwilling to live and work in a state that puts them and their patients at risk,” said Ona Marshall, founder the Kentucky Reproductive Freedom Fund (KYRFF), the organization leading today’s campaign launch. “This campaign sends a clear message to our elected officials: Kentuckians are tired of lawmakers interfering in our private medical decisions.”

Today’s campaign launch coincides with the release of a recent survey of medical students at the three medical schools in Kentucky, conducted by medical students at the University of Louisville, which has found the majority of medical students are unlikely to train or practice in Kentucky due to the state’s anti-abortion policies. The survey found:

  • 85.6% of respondents do not agree with the state's anti-abortion policies. 

  • 87.5% believe these policies negatively impact public health. 

  • 85.6% feel that the policies do not reflect their personal values. 

  • 86.7% are concerned about the potential impact of abortion bans on patient confidentiality and doctor-patient trust. 

  • 73.3% would consider seeking medical training in a different state due to Kentucky's policies.

“When doctors, residents, and medical students avoid practicing in Kentucky, it widens the healthcare gap between urban and rural areas. Rural communities, already struggling with limited health care services, are hit the hardest,” said Dr. Janet Wygal, board certified OBGYN, lifelong Kentucky resident, and alumni of University of Louisville. “In a state that I love, have raised my family, and dedicated my medical career to, I am so deeply distressed  that children and women must flee the state for essential health care.”

“The restrictions on evidence-based medicine and basic freedoms in Kentucky are not just policies; they are barriers that prevent us from becoming the doctors our communities need,” said Shriya Dodwani, a medical student at University of Louisville. “We should not have to choose between receiving adequate training and staying in our home state.”

This new Kentucky data aligned with similar trends across the country, as a survey by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found nearly 60 percent of applicants stated they would not pursue residency in states with abortion bans.

More than half of Kentucky’s 120 counties already had no dedicated OBGYN in 2021 and 2022. Further, Kentucky has been ranked 36 out of 50 for infant mortality, has the sixth highest rate of maternal mortality in the nation, and reported as having the fourth highest teen pregnancy rates in the country.

“As a doctor, I have been faced with decisions that I never thought possible. Decisions that are not based on good medicine, but are driven by state law,” said Dr. Alecia Fields, OBGYN practicing in Kentucky, board certified in Complex Family Planning, and fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health. “I chose to stay in Kentucky despite the abortion ban because I believe that Kentuckians deserve access to exceptional care without limitations. I believe that Kentuckians deserve doctors willing to fight for their ability to access care.”

Earlier this year, the KYRFF gathered over 300 healthcare professionals to publicly oppose Kentucky’s abortion ban, emphasizing how these laws severely impact their ability to provide essential medical care.

A majority of Kentuckians support access to safe and legal abortion, including people of faith. Research from Catholics for Choice says 60% of Catholics in the U.S. believe abortion should be legal in most cases.

“Religion is all too often used to justify bans on abortion and on access to other reproductive health care, including contraception, and sex education,” said Rev. Diane Snowa,  retired pastor ordained in the United Church of Christ in Louisville. “As a Christian theologian

Faithful to the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, it is my religious view that we must center justice, radical inclusion, moral autonomy, dignity, and care for the vulnerable in our work.”

“These issues do not just affect women; they affect all of us. When reproductive rights are restricted, it impacts families, communities, and our society as a whole,” said Billy Hoge, retired family lawyer and former prosecutor. “Men can no longer stand silent while women’s health is relentlessly under attack and they lose their basic human rights. It’s our responsibility to stand up and speak out for the women in our lives and communities.”

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