With the Supreme Court’s June decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Services returning regulatory authority over abortion to individual states, several referendums were on state ballots during the 2022 midterm elections. States like California and Michigan passed initiatives that enshrined abortion access into their constitutions, whereas Kentucky voted down a pro-life proposal.
The measure, known as Constitutional Amendment 2, would have amended Kentucky’s constitution, declaring that there is no right to abortion or any requirement to fund abortion. According to vote tallies based on 98% of precincts, 52.4% voted of voted against the measure, and 46.6% voted in favor.
While the outcome may be disappointing, the ballot initiatives are not the pro-life movement’s only strategy for ending abortion in their individual communities. Kentucky already has several abortion laws on the books that, if properly enforced, could shut down negligent and unscrupulous abortion facilities in the state.
As of June 28, 2022, the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute reported that the following abortion restrictions were in effect in Kentucky:
- The use of telemedicine to administer medication for abortion is prohibited.
- The parent of a minor must consent before an abortion is provided.
- A patient must undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion; the provider must show and describe the image to the patient.
- By law, abortion facility staff must have specific certifications, the clinic must have clear protocols for emergency situations, and equipment must be in line with industry standards.
- And so much more…
While ballot initiatives can be an effective method to ensuring judges do not “find the right” to abortion in their Constitution, we still need targeted enforcement to stop seedy facilities from taking advantage of vulnerable women.
Reprotection exists to investigate which laws the abortion industry broke and ensure accountability, including facility license suspension or forcing the clinic to pay heavy fines. Now that individual states can decide whether to expand or ban abortion, pro-lifers cannot forget the importance of keeping watch on what’s happening at a local level.
Kentucky is also one of the several states that banned abortion following the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe, outlawing it in nearly all circumstances via the Human Life Protection Act.
This means that not only is it necessary to uncover which facilities are breaking the law, but pro-lifers must work to ensure the election of judges and attorney generals that will not put politics above women and unborn children’s lives.
This past July, a high court judge temporarily blocked Kentucky’s abortion ban, claiming there was a “substantial likelihood” that it was unconstitutional. The judge agreed with abortion providers involved with the case that the law violated the right to privacy and self-determination found in Kentucky’s state constitution.
Except, the right to privacy does not mean violence against innocent human beings is acceptable, and the law should protect all humans equally, including the preborn.
The following month, Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Larry E. Thompson reinstates the abortion ban, making abortions illegal again while the state Supreme Court determines the law’s constitutionality.
Thompson noted that allowing abortions to continue during this period would be unfair, as the lives lost would be irreversible, even if the court determined the ban is constitutional.
Another defender of women and unborn children in the state is Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is seeking the state Supreme Court’s permission for the Human Life Protection Act. Cameron is currently running for governor of Kentucky.
With the help of local allies in government and on-the-ground pro-life advocates, Reprotection isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to ensuring abortion facilities do not escape justice.
The ballot initiative’s failure to pass in Kentucky will not impede our efforts to keep a close watch on the abortion industry and make those in power fulfill their responsibilities to carry out the law.