In Kentucky, the state’s Republican-led General Assembly voted on Wednesday to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) veto of House Bill 3, a restrictive measure that opponents say essentially ends abortion access.
House Bill 3 makes it illegal to mail abortion pills; raises standards for minors seeking abortions; requires the state to build a public database that publishes the names and addresses of physicians who perform abortions; and creates a broad certification and monitoring system to keep track of abortions and the doctors who perform them.
The Lexington Herald Leader notes that the bill does not make abortion illegal, but “sets up an extensive certification, monitoring, and complaint database that the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy and Cabinet for Health and Family Services says it lacks the resources and staff to manage.” The bill also requires aborted fetuses be cremated or buried, and opponents say that, coupled with the certification process, puts undue cost burdens on abortion providers. When he vetoed the bill, Beshear said it was in part because of how expensive it is; the measure does not include any additional funds to support the new requirements.
Before the vote, protesters stood outside the state Capitol and chanted, “Bans off our bodies!” Several Democratic lawmakers tried to appeal to their colleagues not to overturn the veto, including state Rep. Rachel Roberts (D), who shared earlier that she was raped at 14. “I urge you to consider the ramifications of this bill,” she said. “I urge you to allow this veto. Think of me as a 14-year-old rape victim.” State Sen. Karen Berg (D) declared, “It takes an amazing amount of audacity to assume you know that you can make this decision for every woman and female child in this state. I beg my colleagues to think about what they are doing.”
State Sen. Stephen Meredith (R) was unmoved, and called the legalization of abortion in the United States “a stain on our country” and “our greatest sin. If a mother can kill her own child, what prevents us from killing ourselves and one another?” The state Senate ultimately voted 31-6 to override Beshear’s veto, and because of an emergency clause, it takes effect immediately.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky both announced they plan to sue Kentucky’s attorney general and Cabinet for Health and Family Services to stop the measure. Read more at the Lexington Herald Leader.