Kentucky General Assembly Spends Time Focused on Restricting Abortion Access Instead of Addressing a Public Health Crisis
Frankfort, KY — Tonight, the Kentucky General Assembly passed anti-abortion legislation that sneaks in new reproductive health care regulatory rules designed to target abortion providers. Senate Bill 9, an inflammatory bill designed to push misinformation, now goes one step further in seeking to completely ban abortion. It now includes an amendment that would give regulatory powers held by health experts at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services over to Attorney General Daniel Cameron. This bill is a blatant power grab that undermines health care experts and sets the stage for anti-abortion politicians and their allies to work in tandem to make it harder for Kentuckians to access reproductive health care, including safe, legal abortion. Attorney General Cameron has made it clear he would single out abortion providers, and even punish them with criminal and civil penalties.
The General Assembly is relentless in advancing anti-abortion legislation during a global pandemic. This is not a time to play political games with Kentuckians’ access to time-sensitive health care services.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky (PPAIK) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky (ACLU-KY) condemn this power grab and the Kentucky General Assembly for putting lives in danger by remaining in session, and restricting access to health care in the middle of a public health emergency. PPAIK and ACLU-KY are calling on Gov. Beshear to veto this disastrous legislation.
Statement from Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky State Director for PPAIK:
“Right now, Kentuckians are just trying to survive the COVID-19 crisis; and politicians in Frankfort are working to take away their health care and exploit the fear and urgency of the moment to push a political agenda to ban abortion. Our elected leaders continue to fail in their leadership at a time when it matters most. This public health crisis demands real leadership, something the Republican supermajority doesn’t seem to have. Prioritizing anything other than health care access and investment in public health systems is malpractice and will cost lives.
The anti-abortion politicians who pushed this legislation through should be ashamed. This type of misguided priorities has weakened our public health infrastructure at a time when we need it the most. We call on Governor Andy Beshear to veto this legislation.”
The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-KY Reproductive Freedom Field Organizer Jackie McGranahan:
“The passage of Senate Bill 9 marks a sad milestone in the General Assembly’s years-long campaign to completely block abortion access for all Kentuckians, regardless of their personal circumstances. Kentucky politicians will stop at nothing, not even in the face of a global public health pandemic, to force people to remain pregnant against their will.
Abortion care is essential, time-sensitive health care, yet the General Assembly wants to give the Attorney General authority to seek to close abortion clinics during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The General Assembly is also, yet again, seeking to criminalize the work of dedicated doctors who provide safe, legal, constitutionally-protected care.
Now more than ever, science and public health must guide us, not politics. This type of restriction on abortion care is an affront to Kentuckians at any time, but the consequences of restricting abortion during a pandemic are even more dire, particularly for people of color and people experiencing poverty.
We call on Governor Beshear to veto this legislation.”