The Kentucky legislature passed a pro-life constitutional amendment Tuesday to declare that there is no “right” to abort unborn babies in their state.
The “Yes for Life” amendment, state House Bill 91, passed the state Senate in a 32-6 vote late Tuesday. It already passed the state House by a strong majority in February. To become part of the Kentucky Constitution, voters also must approve the amendment on the November 2022 ballot.
If ratified, it would amend the Kentucky Constitution to include the following language: “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.”
Celebrating the victory, Kentucky Right to Life executive director Addia Wuchner thanked lawmakers for their commitment to protecting unborn babies.
“HB 91 ensures that that the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky are not disenfranchised by a rogue court and that it is the legislature, your elected representatives, who make the law concerning the lives of our most vulnerable citizen, the unborn human child,” Wuchner said in a statement.
State Rep. Joseph Fischer, R-Fort Thomas, said the amendment will prevent activist judges from striking down state pro-life laws and forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions, as has happened in other states, the Lexington Herald Leader reports.
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After the vote, abortion advocacy groups criticized lawmakers for their actions. Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, slammed the amendment as an attempt to take away Kentuckians’ “fundamental rights.”
“As Kentuckians continue to grapple with the deadly impacts of the pandemic and systemic racism, restricting access to abortion is the last thing politicians should be focusing on right now,” Johnson said. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is aggressively pushing state and federal lawmakers to expand abortions.
Wuchner said many Kentuckians and state organizations worked together to encourage lawmakers to pass the amendment, including Sisters for Life, Family Foundation, the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky and the Commonwealth Policy Center.
“I am sincerely grateful to the many people across the Commonwealth who responded in prayer and action, reaching out to their legislators to affirm their support for HB91 and their Yes for Life,” she said.
The amendment would not immediately ban the killing of unborn babies in abortions in Kentucky because of Roe v. Wade, but it would protect the state from pro-abortion court rulings.
In several states, courts have found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitutions. The rulings have been used to force taxpayers to fund abortions and restrict the state legislature from passing even minor, common sense abortion restrictions.
In 2018, West Virginia voters passed a similar pro-life constitutional amendment after decades of being forced by a court ruling to fund elective abortions with their tax dollars. Kansas lawmakers also passed a pro-life amendment in January after the Kansas Supreme Court found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitution in 2019. The amendment is scheduled for voters’ approval on the August 2022 ballot.