Kentucky becomes first state without legal abortion access since 1973


Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat, vetoed a bill last Friday that would suspend legal abortion access. The Republican-majority House and Senate overrode the governor’s veto on Wednesday night. That action made Kentucky the first state without legal access to abortion since 1973 when the Supreme Court decided Roe v Wade.

The legislation is a sweeping anti-abortion law that took effect immediately. It forces abortion providers to stop offering abortions until they meet certain requirements. New requirements include a provision that states fetal remains must be cremated or interred, a combination birth-death certificate or a stillbirth certificate must be issued after every abortion, and it bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion clinics in Kentucky argue that these requirements make it too difficult and/or expensive to operate.

Governor Beshear vetoed the legislation citing concern that there is no exception for cases of rape or incest. “Rape and incest are violent crimes. Victims of these crimes should have options.” He said the law is “likely unconstitutional” because of the new requirements. In the meantime, the pro-life community can enjoy a sweet victory.

Planned Parenthood’s Kentucky state director Tamarra Wieder said that two provisions will hinder abortion clinics from operating.

The first is a requirement that the state Board of Pharmacy certify providers who dispense abortion pills. Until abortion providers are certified, they are prevented from offering medication abortions.

The second is a requirement that fetal remains be cremated or interred, which places logistical and cost burdens on the clinics that they cannot sustain.

The bill also bans telehealth for medication abortions, requiring an in-person doctor visit for patients seeking to end their pregnancy by pill.

If abortion is truly all about women’s health, which it isn’t, then why are these provisions so unacceptable? Abortion pills end a pregnancy and may cause harsh side effects for the woman, besides ending the life of a gestating human being. Shouldn’t a certified medical professional dispense such medication? As for the requirement of cremation or interment, that will require additional costs to the clinics. Too bad. It’s the cost of doing that kind of business. Abortion is big business, especially for Planned Parenthood. They can afford it.

Pro-abortion advocacy groups say they will challenge the law in court.

Kentucky is going down the same path as that of other Republican-led state legislatures. The Supreme Court may rule by the end of June on a Mississippi case that allows the state legislature to rule abortion is illegal and ban abortion. It is thought that the conservative justices are open to making dramatic cuts in abortion rights.

In Texas, the state legislature passed SB8, the Texas Heartbeat Act. The law is different from others because it allows private citizens to enforce it, not state officials. Abortions are banned when a heartbeat can be detected, usually six weeks into a pregnancy. Recently headlines were made when a woman was arrested for a “self-induced abortion”. Those charges have been dropped.

On Tuesday, Oklahoma’s governor signed a bill that makes abortion illegal except in medical emergencies. A violation can bring fines up to $100,000 and 10 years in prison. The law goes into effect in August if legal challenges do not prevent it from happening.



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