Kentucky Lawmakers Override Veto of Abortion Ban

Activists say measure will force state's only 2 abortion clinics to close
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 14, 2022 4:40 AM CDT
Kentucky Lawmakers Override Veto of Abortion Ban
Abortion-rights supporters chant their objections at the Kentucky Capitol on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, in Frankfort, Ky..   (AP Photo/Bruce Schreiner)

New abortion restrictions passed by Republican lawmakers over the Democratic governor's veto will force the only two abortion clinics in Kentucky to stop providing the procedures for women, at least temporarily, while the new law is challenged in court, abortion-rights activists said Wednesday. The law will draw immediate federal lawsuits, and attorneys for the clinics will seek a ruling to block the measure to allow the clinics to resume abortions while the case is litigated, the activists said. The House overrode Gov. Andy Beshear's veto on a 76-21 vote, sending it to the state Senate, which overrode the veto on a 31-6 vote.

Immediately after the GOP-led legislature finished overriding Gov. Andy Beshear's vetoes, the activists said the clinics will be unable to comply with the new restrictions because the state hasn't set up a now-mandated regulatory process, the AP reports. The measure takes effect immediately.. "Because the law is impossible to comply with, it amounts to a de facto abortion ban, thus violating patients' federal right to abortion under Roe v. Wade,” abortion-rights groups said in a news release. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union will file suit challenging the measure, the release said.

The bill calls for regulating the dispensing of abortion pills, but the state hasn't yet set up the registration process, the groups said. Another key part of the bill bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Kentucky law currently bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The proposed 15-week ban is modeled after a Mississippi law the Supreme Court is considering in a case that could dramatically limit abortion rights. Opponents also condemned the bill for failing to exclude pregnancies caused by rape or incest. During the session, Republicans also used their majorities to finish overriding a Beshear veto of their effort to ban transgender athletes from participating in sports.

(More Kentucky stories.)

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