A lawsuit has been filed against Gov. Andy Beshear in Kentucky for permitting abortion facilities to remain open while churches have been forced to remain closed. Beshear enforced restrictions on church gatherings, small businesses, and non-essential surgeries in order to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic while also preserving medical equipment. These bans, however, were not applied to abortion clinics.
First Liberty Institute and network attorneys with WilmerHale and Bilby Law PLLC have filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order within the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The attorneys did so on behalf of Tabernacle Baptist Church of Nicholasville, Kentucky to challenge Beshear’s orders that prohibit in-person church services while allowing abortion centers to continue operations.
“Governor Beshear’s orders unlawfully target religious worship and violate the First Amendment,” said Roger Byron, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “The Constitution forbids the government from burdening churches with restrictions that are not imposed on other entities. The fundamental rights of religious Americans who seek to abide by the public health guidelines during this pandemic may not be singled out for onerous restrictions.”
The Tabernacle Baptist Church was forced to stop holding in-person religious services after the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services issued the order on March 19, 2020. Beshear asserted that religious organizations are not “life-sustaining,” unless they’re performing charity work. But Beshear has not taken action to restrict abortion clinics during COVID-19.
“How can an individual say he respects lives, and then allow over 700 children to be aborted in a clinic a few miles down the road?” Rep. David Hale asked. “Let’s stand for freedom. Let’s stand for righteousness. Let’s stand on the Word of God.”
Beshear has previously faced criticism after he vetoed a bill that would’ve protected newborns from infanticide. In a statement, Beshear said the bill was “divisive.”