Abortion Access Hangs by a Thread in Kentucky

Whether or not Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear signs the latest abortion restrictions likely won't matter, as the Kentucky legislature holds veto power.

Photo of the exterior of the Kentucky state capitol building
Kentucky's pre-viability abortion ban is modeled after the Mississippi ban that's before the Supreme Court. Getty Images

Update, April 14: The ACLU filed a lawsuit early this morning to block HB 3, after the Kentucky legislature overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto on several abortion restrictions.

Kentucky has joined other states in ushering in a post-Roe era of abortion bans.

Last week, Kentucky lawmakers passed an unconstitutional pre-viability abortion ban as an amendment to HB 3, which is poised to decimate abortion access in the state, as Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai’i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky explains in an op-ed in the Courier-Journal.

The 15-week ban is modeled after the Mississippi 15-week ban that is currently before the Supreme Court. That case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is expected to be the final blow to Roe v. Wade. A decision is expected to come before the Court ends its term at the end of June.

The Kentucky legislation is headed to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who claims to be “pro-choice” but has supported abortion restrictions in the past. Whether or not he signs the bill, however, is not likely to matter as the Kentucky legislature holds the power to override the governor’s veto.

One of the restrictions included in the legislation involves medication abortion, which accounted for almost half of all abortions in the state in 2019. The bill would ban telehealth for medication abortion; the state already requires counseling on medication abortion “reversal”—which is a myth.

As Kim Greene wrote in the Courier-Journal op-ed:

So why this spasm of anti-abortion legislation in Kentucky and other states? Don’t think it’s what most Americans want. It is not. Like most Kentuckians, most Americans are compassionate and able to empathize with the plight of someone in need of this care. They want access to safe, legal abortion.

This post was adapted from a Twitter thread.