Kentucky Wins Red State Race To Completely Block Abortion Access Even While Roe Stands

FRANKFORT, KY - JANUARY 16: A flock of birds is seen flying over the Capitol Building on January 16, 2021 in Frankfort, Kentucky. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

Kentucky Republicans overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) veto Wednesday night on an abortion law so restrictive that the state’s few remaining clinics will no longer be able to operate. It’s effective immediately.

Abortion rights groups plan to challenge the law in court. 

Planned Parenthood’s Kentucky state director Tamarra Wieder said that provisions in the law forcing providers to be certified by the state Board of Pharmacy before they dispense abortion medication and requiring the burial or cremation of fetal remains make it impossible for clinics to continue providing services, according to Reuters

In his veto, Beshear made the practical effects of the draconian law clear. 

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“House Bill 3 contains no exceptions or exclusions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest,” he wrote. “Under House Bill 3, a 12-year-old child that is raped and impregnated by her father would not have the option of a procedure without both the consent of her mother and without also notifying her rapist — her father — at least 48 hours prior to obtaining a procedure or by petitioning a circuit or district court for a hearing…” 

“Furthermore,” he added, “House Bill 3 is likely unconstitutional.” 

Republican-controlled legislatures have been chomping at the bit to make abortion even less accessible in their often already intensely restrictive states, with Oklahoma earlier this month rolling out a law that would make it a felony for a provider to perform an abortion. The Oklahoma law was in part a response to the Texans flooding into the state seeking care, a direct result of their own state’s new legislation that creates a monetary-based incentive system for private individuals to turn over their neighbors who “aid and abet” post-six week abortions.

Conservatives on the Supreme Court made clear in oral arguments over a 15-week Mississippi ban that they are prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade, a decision expected to come this summer. In response, Republican-controlled states have queued up swaths of new abortion restrictions on top of the short bans and trigger laws many already have on the books that will go into effect the second Roe falls.

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