Lawmakers pass constitutional amendment declaring no right to abortion in KY

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – On the final day of the 2021 General Assembly session, state lawmakers passed a constitutional amendment that declares there is no right to an abortion in Kentucky, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The report says House Bill 91 would add this language to the Kentucky Constitution:  “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”

According to the report, the constitution would then pre-empt any court ruling that could legalize abortion in Kentucky, should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a right to an abortion.

Kentuckians will vote on the constitutional amendment in November 2022.

Gov. Andy Beshear doesn’t have the authority to veto proposed constitutional amendments.

The ACLU-KY and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky were quick to criticize the passage of the bill.

ACLU-KY Policy Strategist Jackie McGranahan released the following statement:

“The Kentucky General Assembly continued its years-long attack on reproductive freedom today with the passage of House Bill 91, a proposed amendment to Kentucky’s Constitution to entirely deny the right to abortion care, even in cases of rape, incest, or life-threatening conditions. It would also enshrine an existing law prohibiting private insurance companies from covering abortion care.

This amendment will likely appear on ballots in the next election. The ACLU of Kentucky will continue to work to defend Kentuckians’ reproductive freedom.

The government should never have the authority to force someone to remain pregnant against their will. The General Assembly will stop at nothing to push constitutionally-protected abortion care entirely out of reach, even for people whose lives depend on it. Passing such extreme legislation shows Kentucky lawmakers want to force their constituents to remain pregnant against their will, even if they are victims and survivors of rape or incest.

At best, House Bill 91 will shame and ostracize patients and healthcare providers. At worst, it will cost lives.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky (PPAIK) condemned the passage of House Bill 91:

“Health care and the right to bodily autonomy are basic human rights,” said Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky state director of PPAIK. “This constitutional amendment puts tens of thousands of Kentuckians’ access to safe, legal abortion at risk, and inserts the government into our individual, personal health care decisions. Abortion is health care and is a core component of social and economic equality for individuals, their families, and their communities.”

“This constitutional amendment is a blatant effort to take away Kentuckians’ fundamental rights and prevent individuals from making the health care decisions best for them and their families,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “As Kentuckians continue to grapple with the deadly impacts of the pandemic and systemic racism, restricting access to abortion is the last thing politicians should be focusing on right now. This is another example of extreme politicians putting their personal beliefs before the people and their priorities. Planned Parenthood is committed to fighting for abortion access in Kentucky and across the country because every person deserves to access safe, legal abortion — regardless of where you live or how much you make.”

The passage was met with praise from Addia K. Wuchner, Executive Director of Kentucky Right to Life.

“HB 91 – Yes for Life! Kentucky’s ProLife Constitutional Amendment has passed the House and Senate and WILL BE on the ballot in November, 2022!

On January 22, 1973, in one raw exercise of judicial power, Citizens and the legislative branches of government were disenfranchised and the destruction of unborn children became legal.

In one fell swoop, the abortion laws of all fifty states were struck down.

HB 91 ensures that that the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky are not disenfranchised by a rogue Court and that it is the legislature, your elected representatives, who make the law concerning the lives of our most vulnerable citizen, the unborn human child.

Ky Right to Life is thankful for the commitment to life shown by House and Senate members in their support for and passage of HB 91. Ky Right to Life is also grateful for our prolife partner  organizations and our prolife membership across the Commonwealth.

I am sincerely grateful to the many people across the Commonwealth who responded in prayer and action, reaching out to their legislators to affirm their support for HB91 and their Yes for Life.”

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