Dobbs Decision

The Dobbs Decision

This site provides the latest information regarding the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs.

It contains resources that faculty and instructors can review regarding conversations that will make take place in classrooms regarding this issue as well as background and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on health and insurance issues, among others.

If and when issues change, or if additional questions arise, this page will be updated accordingly.


Resources for faculty in the classroom

It is likely that students and faculty will discuss this issue in the classroom. For help on how to navigate challenging conversations, UK’s Center for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) offers resources and workshops that faculty and instructors can access.

CELT website address:

Challenging Conversations in the Classroom:


CELT also routinely offers workshops on courageous conversations.​​​​​​​



The University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare are continuously tracking and analyzing all aspects of federal and state court decisions regarding abortion to determine any implications for current practices and procedures.

Because of a “trigger law” passed at the state level in 2019, elective abortions in Kentucky are illegal.  Although the law is being challenged on state constitutional grounds, a judge of the Court of Appeals has allowed it to be enforced while appellate proceedings are on-going.  

However, state law already has for some time prohibited the University of Kentucky from performing abortions except where the mother’s life is at risk.

Additionally, UK’s insurance plans do not provide for elective abortions. However, they do cover procedures when the life or health of the mother is threatened or in cases of rape or incest.

We will continue to analyze the impact of the ongoing litigation as part of our compliance with federal and state laws in this issue, while also ensuring we continue our commitment to providing the best possible care for all our patients.


Frequently Asked Questions


Medical Care/Clinical Related Questions

Q. What are you doing to prepare for the downstream effects of abortions becoming illegal in the state? Is the system anticipating more women in medical distress or complicated legal questions regarding medically necessary abortions?

A. Our medical care teams are trained and prepared for any type of situation and have always had legal professionals available for questions or consultation.


 Q. Kentucky’s new abortion law bans all abortions, except when the mother’s life is in danger.  Can a doctor explain how it will be determined under this new law when an abortion would be performed?

A. A physician may perform a medical procedure necessary in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment to prevent the death or substantial risk of death due to a physical condition, or to prevent the serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman.


Q. How will Roe v. Wade impact the treatment of miscarriages going forward?

A. No changes will be made in the care of patients experiencing a miscarriage.  A miscarriage is not an abortion.


Q. What is UK doing differently to prepare for an uptick in patients that visit your ED with pregnancy loss resulting from an elective abortion and/or complications from that abortion?

A. UK HealthCare Emergency Medicine and OB physicians and nurses are already trained to recognize the complications that would be associated with a "self-induced" abortion and address the clinical issues. We don’t anticipate any additional training, but if it is necessary for any reason related to any condition, we will provide it.


Q. Do you track how many patients seek care for these reasons? 

A. No. UK doesn’t specifically track patients who come into our ED with pregnancy loss resulting from an elective abortion and/or complications from that abortion. However, we do comply with all reporting requirements under state law.  


Q. Does UK perform elective abortions? How many were provided in 2021?

A. The University and UK HealthCare do not perform elective abortions. Under Kentucky law, the University may only perform abortions to save the life of the mother.  The trigger law explicitly exempts procedures necessary to save the life of the mother.


Q.  What procedures are in place for doctors in obstetrics to reach out to legal counsel when they have a question about how to give care regarding issues with pregnancy or life and death situations related to pregnancy? What is the process for all doctors or surgeons to seek legal counsel on any law or rule they aren't sure of when administering care to a patient?

A. Our providers regularly consult with the Office of Legal Counsel and will continue to do so.  In the immediate aftermath of Dobbs, UK’s General Counsel has provided legal counsel to many providers and will continue to do so.


Q. Has the abortion ban impacted the care UK is able to offer to patients? We've heard from some doctors across the country who expressed concern about prosecution. Are doctors having to consult with lawyers more? Are they scared? How is this ban impacting their jobs?

A. The Dobbs decision caused Kentucky’s trigger law to become effective. However, our analysis to date is that the impact of that law on the University’s physicians and nurses is minimal. The Office of Legal Counsel has provided legal advice and will continue to do so.


Q. Has UK HealthCare seen an increase in requests for birth control, tubal litigations, and vasectomies?

A. It is too early to determine whether there has been a quantifiable increase in requests, given how we schedule and plan out procedures.  However, it is important to note that the trigger law explicitly exempts contraceptive measures.


Q. Does UK Hospital (UKHC) still plan on giving Plan B? And do you know if UK Hospital will keep prescribing birth control for the time being?

A. No changes have been made -- or are required to be made -- in the prescribing of contraception or contraceptive measures prior to the time pregnancy can be determined through conventional medical testing and if sold or prescribed in accordance with manufacturer instructions.


Medical Education/Residency Program Training Related Questions


Q. Has UK trained its staff using help from the Ryan Program? If so, when?

A. No. Our medical residents receive training in family planning. However, we do not currently have a designated family planning rotation.


Q. How will the University of Kentucky Medical School fulfill the accreditation requirements for obstetrics and gynecology residents? Does Kentucky plan to send OB/GYN residents to other states for this training?

A. The University will carefully review accreditation requirements and will determine how to comply with those requirements while fully respecting and complying with Kentucky law.


Campus, HR and UHS-Related Questions


Q.  What do you currently offer in terms of reproductive health care on campus?

A. UHS can prescribe contraception along with providing education. Nothing in the trigger law alters this practice.


 Q. Do/did you offer medication abortions?

A. UHS does not provide any abortion services.  This was true before Dobbs and remains true.


 Q. Does your University Health Service prescribe contraception?

A. UHS prescribes contraception along with education. The trigger law does not alter this practice.


 Q. Do you offer STD/STI or pregnancy tests?

A. UHS offers both STI testing and pregnancy tests for our students. The University will continue to do so. The trigger law has no impact on this.


Q. Is your student healthcare center (UHS) able to help connect students with the abortion resources they are seeking?

A. UHS offers educational resources in the case a student may be seeking an abortion. The University will comply with Kentucky law.


Q. Several organizations have announced they will financially support travel expenses for employees' seeking an abortion in another state. What is the University of Kentucky's policy on this?

A. UK’s insurance plans do not cover elective abortions. Our plans do allow abortions in extraordinary circumstances, such as when the mother’s life is in danger.  


Q. Does UK’s insurance plans cover abortions?

A. UK’s insurance plans do not provide for elective abortions. They do cover procedures when the life or health of the mother is threatened.