Frankfort, Key. – Democratic Gov. Andy Bechair has vetoed a Republican priority on Friday that will ban abortions in Kentucky after 15 weeks of pregnancy and regulate the release of abortion pills.
The governor expressed doubts about the constitutionality of the bill and criticized it for not including exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
State lawmakers will have a chance to lift the veto when they meet again next week for the last two days of this year’s 60-day legislative session. The abortion measure has won overwhelming support in the Republican-dominated legislature. A spokesman for the Republican State Party called the veto the latest example of the governor’s “ideological war” against conservative values.
The proposal reflects a recent attempt by Kentucky lawmakers to impose more restrictions and conditions on abortion after the Republican Party took full control of the legislature after the 2016 election.
The proposed 15-week ban is modeled on a Mississippi law being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that could drastically restrict abortion rights. Taking precautionary action, supporters of the bill say Kentucky’s tougher ban will be in place if the Mississippi law is upheld.
Kentucky law currently prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Beshear on Friday condemned the bill for not ruling out pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
“Rape and incest are violent crimes,” the governor said in a veto statement. “Victims of these crimes must have opportunities, not be further marked by a process that exposes them to more harm than their rapists or treats them as the perpetrators themselves.
The governor said the bill would make it difficult for girls under 18 to terminate their pregnancies without notifying both parents. As an example, he said that a girl pregnant by her father would have to inform him of her intention to have an abortion.
Beshear, a former chief state prosecutor, also said the bill was “probably unconstitutional”, noting that similar laws elsewhere had been rejected by the Supreme Court. He cited provisions in the Kentucky bill that require doctors who perform non-surgical procedures to maintain hospital privileges “geographically close” to where the procedures are performed.
“The Supreme Court has ruled such requirements unconstitutional, as it makes it impossible for women, including a child victim of rape or incest, to receive proceedings in certain areas of the state,” the governor said.
Opponents of the Kentucky bill say its restrictions are so onerous that no abortion clinic can comply.
The State Republican Party has sharply criticized Besheir for the veto. It is likely to re-emerge as a problem next year when the governor runs for a second term in Kentucky, which is aimed at Republicans.
On Friday, U.S. Republican spokesman Sean Southard said the governor’s veto was “the last act in his ideological war against conservative values upheld by Kentucky residents.”
Proponents of abortion rights have defended the governor’s actions. Jackie McGranahan, a political strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union in Kentucky, said the bill was intended to “embarrass and expel patients” and “push a safe and effective method of abortion care out of reach.”
Another key part of the bill will lay down provisions for the granting of abortion pills. This will require women to be examined in person by a doctor before receiving the medicine.
This part of the bill is part of nationwide pressure from anti-abortion groups to limit doctors’ ability to prescribe abortion pills through telemedicine and comes in response to increased pill use rather than surgery to terminate early pregnancies.
About half of all abortions performed in Kentucky are the result of medical procedures.
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The governor of Kentucky vetoed a proposal to ban abortions for 15 weeks
Source link The governor of Kentucky vetoed a proposal to ban abortions for 15 weeks