AP

Abortion rights boosted with defeat of Kentucky amendment

Nov 9, 2022, 6:37 AM | Updated: 10:28 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky voters rejected a ballot measure aimed at denying any constitutional protections for abortion, handing a victory to abortion-rights supporters who have seen access to the procedure eroded by Republican lawmakers in the deeply red state.

The outcome of the election that concluded Tuesday highlighted what appeared to be a gap between voter sentiment and the expectations of Kentucky’s GOP-dominated legislature, which imposed a near-total ban on abortions and put the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot.

While a significant moral victory for abortion-rights advocates, the amendment’s defeat will have no practical impact on the right to an abortion if a sweeping ban on the procedure approved by lawmakers survives a legal challenge presently before the state Supreme Court.

Still, the amendment’s rejection leaves open the possibility that abortion could be declared a state right by the court.

Rachel Sweet of Protect Kentucky Access, an abortion-rights coalition, hailed the outcome as a “historic win” against “government overreach” into the personal medical decisions of Kentuckians.

“The people of Kentucky have spoken and their answer is no — no to extremist politicians banning abortion and making private medical decisions on their behalf,” said Amber Duke, interim executive director for the ACLU of Kentucky.

Abortion-rights supporters who suffered years of setbacks in Kentucky’s legislature were jubilant, but said considerably more work is ahead in their quest to restore access to the procedure.

The Family Foundation, a faith-based organization opposed to abortion, said Wednesday that “the fight for the unborn” will continue.

“While we are disappointed in the results of Amendment 2, the pro-life movement in Kentucky and across the nation, is steadfast in its resolve to continue defending life,” David Walls, the group’s executive director, said in a written statement. “Kentucky’s laws protecting preborn children remain in place and Kentuckians have returned large, pro-life legislative majorities to the General Assembly.”

The Kentucky ballot question had asked voters if they wanted to amend the constitution to say: “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.”

A year ago, lawmakers had added the proposed amendment to the 2022 general election slate in a move some thought would drive more conservative voters to the polls at a time before the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June overturning Roe v. Wade.

Since then, voters in Kansas have rejected a ballot measure that would have changed that state’s constitution to let lawmakers tighten restrictions or ban abortions. Kentucky was among a handful of states with abortion referendums on the ballot this fall.

The Kentucky Supreme Court has a hearing next week on challenges by the state’s two remaining abortion clinics to the near-total abortion ban approved by lawmakers. The high court ruled this summer that the ban would stay in place while it reviewed the challenges.

Abortion-related court battles have been frequent and fierce in Kentucky since Republicans took full control of the legislature after the 2016 election. Lawmakers enacted a series of laws adding restrictions and requirements for those seeking to end their pregnancies.

Fervor ran high on both sides during the campaign, as donations poured in, politicians spoke out, volunteers canvassed neighborhoods and advocates accused the opposition of misleading voters.

The legislature previously enacted a so-called trigger law banning nearly all abortions if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The only instances when abortions are currently allowed in Kentucky are to save a pregnant woman’s life or to prevent disabling injury. There are no exceptions for rape or incest victims. Pointing to the extremely narrow exceptions, abortion-rights supporters said the legislature’s hardline stand on abortion made constitutional protections necessary.

Abortion opponents, in pushing for the amendment, said it would have ensured abortion policy comes from the legislature — where they say it belongs — and not from the courts.

____

Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.

Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

1 day ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

1 day ago

southern Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly...

Associated Press

Trial of a southern Arizona rancher charged in fatal shooting of unarmed migrant goes to the jury

Closing arguments were made against a southern Arizona rancher accused of shooting an undocumented migrant on his land to death on Thursday.

2 days ago

Donald Trump's hush money trial: 12 jurors selected...

Associated Press

Although 12 jurors were picked for Donald Trump’s hush money trial, selection of alternates is ongoing

A jury of 12 people was seated Thursday in former President Donald Trump's hush money trial. The proceedings are close to opening statements.

2 days ago

A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

3 days ago

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Abortion rights boosted with defeat of Kentucky amendment