Legislators in the Kentucky House passed a measure Thursday that would amend the state’s constitution to declare that there is no right to abortion. HB 91 passed the House by a large margin, with a vote of 76-20. Although the measure also passed last year, it was never considered by the Senate because of the COVID-19 adjournment.
The bill recommends amending Kentucky’s constitution so that it reads, “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.”
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Joe Fischer, explained that while there is no right to abortion mentioned in either the state or U.S. Constitution, he wants to make sure that it stays that way. “This assures that no Kentucky court will ever be able to fashion an explicit or implicit right to abortion, from the text of our state constitution. There will be no Roe v. Wade decision here in Kentucky if this passes,” he said.
According to the Courier-Journal, Fischer was adamant that the amendment would not include any exceptions, such as allowing abortion when the health of the mother is at risk. (This is an oft-cited exception, although the truth is that deliberately killing a child in utero is never medically necessary). While there were several outspoken opponents to the amendment, there were an overwhelming number of Representatives in support, including Rep. Bill Wesley, who said, “I’m 100% pro-life and if it was up to me, I’d shut every abortion clinic down.”
State Republicans like Fischer see the constitutional amendment as a wise precaution since many abortion advocates across the country are fighting to shore up laws should Roe v. Wade someday be overturned. “Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot afford to allow abortion proponents to forum shop our state courts to invent a state constitutional right to an abortion and thereby invalidate our state laws protecting unborn children,” Fischer said.
If the Senate passes the measure, it will be left for voters to approve in a statewide referendum in November.
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