Frankfort, KY — Today, Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed House Bill 3, a 72 page omnibus package of anti-abortion policies so extreme it would make it impossible for providers to continue offering abortions anywhere in the commonwealth. The bill could leave as many as a million Kentuckians of reproductive age without access to abortion, forcing those in need of care to travel across state lines, if they can afford to do so, or to carry their pregnancies against their will, including survivors of rape and incest and those for whom pregnancy poses significant health risks.
The final day for a veto override by the Kentucky General Assembly is April 14. If the governor’s veto is overturned, care will immediately be unavailable in the state – making Kentucky the first state since Roe v. Wade in which a full ban on abortion has taken effect.
Jennifer M. Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates (PPAA):
“We thank Governor Beshear for supporting the will of Kentuckians by vetoing House Bill 3. With abortion access at a crisis point in the commonwealth and across this country, Gov. Beshear’s commitment to supporting this essential care comes at a time when true leadership is needed most. Because it would effectively ban abortion in the commonwealth, H.B. 3 is the most dangerous package of anti-abortion policies to come out of the Kentucky General Assembly. It is unconstitutional, anti-science, and against the wishes of the majority of Kentuckians who want access to safe and legal abortion. Regardless of what the proponents of this bill have said, there is no justification for this legislation, which will, by design, stop abortion completely in our state. The Kentucky legislature is unapologetically playing games with constituents' lives and we must hold them accountable.”
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“The reasons to veto this atrocious, cruel, and medically unjustified bill are clear — and we are grateful that Gov. Beshear saw that and responded accordingly today. This veto is an example of how empathetic, reasonable, and responsible elected officials must respond to attacks on their constituents’ fundamental and constitutional rights. We know that House Bill 3 goes against science and infringes on Kentuckians’ freedom to decide their own futures. We cannot and will not sit idly by.”
Emboldened by the inaction of the U.S. Supreme Court, anti-abortion legislators in forty-one states have introduced more than 500 abortion restrictions across the country this year. House Bill 3 is part of this nationwide coordinated attack on abortion, irresponsibly combining some of the most egregious restrictions into a laundry list of onerous and unnecessary requirements for abortion providers and patients.
House Bill 3 would completely — and immediately — eliminate abortion access in Kentucky upon becoming law by piling on a barrage of abortion restrictions that would take immediate effect and that would make it impossible for providers to operate in the state. The bill would make a non-existent “registration” process a prerequisite for doctors providing medication abortion, and erect other barriers to make this safe and effective method of abortion unavailable. It would also prohibit abortion clinics from safely and respectfully handling fetal remains in accordance with medical standards and practice, and require egregious information disclosures that would violate patient privacy and make abortion providers more vulnerable to threats and harassment. The bill also includes a 15-week abortion ban, modeled on the Mississippi ban that U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering.
If Kentucky enacts this bill, effectively imposing a total ban on abortion, research suggests the number of pregnancy-related deaths could increase by 21 percent, with a 33 percent increase among Black women, specifically. The maternal mortality rate in Kentucky is already more than double the national average, killing Black women at a rate three to four times higher than non-Hispanic white women.
Read the governor’s veto letter.
Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, Serving AK, HI, ID, IN, KY, WA (PPAA) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization educating residents and policymakers about reproductive health issues in Alaska, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky and Washington. PPAA lobbies and educates to advance Planned Parenthood's mission, and engages in limited electoral activities.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy, and limited electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter educaction.