Gov. Beshear vetoes abortion legislation; Republicans voice disapproval

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WTVQ) – Kentucky’s Democratic governor has vetoed abortion legislation pushed by Republican lawmakers.

The bill would have given the state’s anti-abortion attorney general authority to regulate abortion clinics.

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It also would have given Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron the power to suspend abortions as an elective procedure during the coronavirus outbreak.

Another part of the vetoed measure would have required doctors to provide life-sustaining care for an infant born alive after a failed abortion attempt.

The measure cleared the legislature in the waning hours of this year’s legislative session. As a result, lawmakers won’t have an opportunity to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto.

Kentucky House Speaker David Osbourne, R – Prospect, says this legislation was about protecting a baby if it survives an abortion attempt.

“The Born Alive Act simply requires physicians and other health caregivers provide lifesaving medical care to infants who survive an abortion,” Rep. Osbourne said. “It is a miracle for an infant to survive an abortion and to not render assistance is unthinkable. State and federal laws are insufficient in addressing this…”

Planned Parenthood says the bill was not needed and would have confused pregnant women.

“Not only is this bill unnecessary, it is a blatant display of anti-abortion politics by extremists in the Kentucky General Assembly,” said Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky State Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky (PPAIK).

Governor Beshear in his official letter announcing the veto said:

“During this worldwide health pandemic, it is simply not the time for a divisive set of lawsuits that reduce our unity and our focus on defeating the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and restarting our economy.”

Attorney General Daniel Cameron said it’s disheartening and he would have been able to hold abortion clinics accountable to the law if the bill passed.

“The people of Kentucky elected me to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth, and I had hoped that Governor Beshear would welcome having me as a partner with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in enforcing our health and safety laws, rather than rebuking the peoples’ wishes,” Cameron said.