By Dave Andrusko
When Kentucky’s proposed pro-life Amendment 2 narrowly lost Tuesday night, some accounts acted as though that defeat meant there was suddenly a right to abortion. The exact language was “To protect human life, nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
Yesterday, in a tweet Attorney General Daniel Cameron made clear that in his opinion “while this result is disappointing it does not change our belief there is no right to abortion hidden in the Kentucky Constitution and that the regulation of abortion policy is a matter that belongs to our elected representatives in the General assembly.”
On Wednesday Cameron’s office “filed a motion with the Kentucky Supreme Court to explain why this outcome has no bearing on whether the Court should consider creating a Kentucky version of Roe v. Wade. We urge the Court to interpret our Constitution based on its original meaning.”
Just before the vote, in an op-ed, state Senators Alvarado and Wise explained what the amendment would accomplish:
Voters have an opportunity to affirm unequivocally, that there is no inherent constitutional right to an abortion in the Constitution of Kentucky. …
Constitutional Amendment 2 simply does two things: it says that under the Kentucky Constitution, abortion is not a right and it prevents state funding from being used to perform them. By voting yes on this amendment, you are keeping judges from creating new constitutional rights not explicitly addressed nor even implied in our founding state document. This amendment will continue to protect the woman’s life if a pregnancy is to be a medical risk to her life.
Reporter Deborah Yetter explained it this way in a story that ran in the Louisville Courier-Journal :
Passage of the measure would have guaranteed there is no state right to abortion in Kentucky’s constitution and would put an end to legal challenges seeking to overturn state laws that restrict or ban abortion.
Defeat of the amendment means that reproductive rights supporters may still seek to have abortion declared a state right through legal challenges to existing laws.
It is this latter approach that pro-abortionists want the Kentucky Supreme Court to adopt and which Cameron opposed in his brief.
In an op-ed that ran October 25, Cameron wrote
Shortly before Roe, Kentucky’s highest court considered a constitutional challenge to this statute. The court unanimously rejected the challenge and upheld the law. The court determined that deciding whether and when to prohibit abortion was a matter for the General Assembly and emphasized the court’s “obligation to exercise judicial restraint” regarding the will of the legislature.
For 49 years, our long history of protecting unborn life had been eclipsed by federal judicial activism, but thankfully the shadow of Roe has now lifted.