Frankfort, KY — Today, Governor Andy Beshear vetoed Senate Bill 9 for the unnecessary restrictions and dangerous confusion it would have placed on pregnant Kentuckians — a bill that would have stripped access to reproductive health care when it is needed most, and likely closed abortion providers in the state.
“Not only is this bill unnecessary, it is a blatant display of anti-abortion politics by extremists in the Kentucky General Assembly,” said Tamarra Wieder, Kentucky State Director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Indiana and Kentucky (PPAIK). “We want to thank Governor Andy Beshear for vetoing Senate Bill 9 and standing up for the rights of all Kentuckians to access comprehensive reproductive care. A global pandemic is not the time to play political games with people’s lives. This veto by the governor shows true leadership in a time when it is needed most.”
The Governor, in his official letter explaining the veto action, wrote: “I am vetoing Senate Bill 9 because existing Kentucky law already fully protects children from being denied life-saving medical care and treatment when they are born. In addition, bills similar to Senate Bill 9 have been struck down as unconstitutional in the majority of states in America when challenged. During this worldwide health pandemic, it is simply not the time for a divisive set of lawsuits that reduce our unity and our focus on defeating the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and restarting our economy.”
Senate Bill 9, was designed to push misinformation, and went one step further in seeking to completely ban abortion. It included an amendment that would have given 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.
Throughout the 2020 legislative session, and amid a global pandemic, the Kentucky General Assembly shamelessly chose inflammatory anti-abortion rhetoric to score political points and drive a false narrative to stigmatize reproductive health care. Despite guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, legislators continued to gather in groups to advance legislation that restricts abortion access without input from the public.