The Kentucky Legislature has enacted sweeping abortion restrictions that effectively end access to the procedure, overriding Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto and making the state the first in the nation without legal abortion access. since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.
Kentucky’s Republican-controlled General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to pass House Bill 3, which includes a series of measures that opponents say will effectively end abortion rights in the state. The bill prohibits the distribution of abortion pills by post, complicates the task of minors wishing to have an abortion and requires the issuance of a certificate for each abortion. It also bans all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, among other measures.
Anti-abortion legislation, which makes no exceptions for rape or incest, took effect immediately. The Kentucky House voted to override the veto 76-21, and the Senate voted 31-6.
“The Kentucky legislature has been emboldened by a similar 15-week ban pending before the Supreme Court and other states enacting abortion bans, including Florida and Oklahoma,” said Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project at WFPL, NPR’s Louisville affiliate. . “We urge the court to block this law immediately and ensure Kentucky residents can continue to access abortion care.”
Lawmakers had passed the restrictions last month, but Beshear vetoed them last week, saying the bill was “probably unconstitutional”.
The total effect of the package is that it will be nearly impossible for abortion providers to comply with it, making the procedure too complex or too expensive. The state’s two abortion providers, Planned Parenthood and EMW Women’s Surgical Center, said they would not be able to continue providing care unless a judge blocks the law.
“[The law] does not make abortion illegal, but because of the long list of restrictions…abortion providers will not be able to comply,” Nicole Erwin, communications manager for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, told the Lexington leader Herald.
Civil rights groups have vowed to sue, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.
‘Kentucky politicians are not fooling anyone,’ say lawyers for Planned Parenthood Alliance – East wrote Wednesday. “When you create 72 pages of restrictions that make it impossible to provide abortion care, that’s an abortion ban. And the courts must stop it.
Kentucky’s legislation is the latest Republican effort to stifle access to abortion across the country, with laws passed by some states that ban the procedure so early in a pregnancy that many still wouldn’t realize they were there. are pregnant.
Oklahoma passed a near-total abortion ban that was signed by the state’s Republican governor this week. This law will come into effect later this year.
Conservatives expect the Supreme Court to issue a ruling later this year that would uphold the new restrictive measures. Several states have pending anti-abortion laws that would go into effect if this were the case.