In November, Kentuckians will have a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment that, if passed, would declare that nothing in the state constitution protects a right to abortion or requires government funding for abortion.
The proposed amendment can be read here. The ballot on Nov. 8 will read as follows:
Are you in favor of amending the Constitution of Kentucky by creating a new Section of the Constitution to be numbered Section 26A to state as follows: 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?
A “yes” vote supports the amendment, meaning the voter thinks there is no right to an abortion (generally aligning with the pro-life ideology).
A “no” vote opposes the amendment, meaning the voter thinks there is a right to an abortion (generally aligning with the pro-choice ideology).
More information — such as the organizations and lawmakers who support or oppose the issue, the campaign financing, more background, and similar measures in other states — can be found here.
Currently, nearly all abortions are illegal in Kentucky since an appeals court reinstated two bans in August.
One ban is a “trigger law” that Kentucky lawmakers passed in 2019. The other bans abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy. The only exception with either ban is if the mother’s life is in danger.
The trigger law went into effect immediately after the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade put the decision of abortion into the hands of each state. It bans all abortions from the moment of conception, and makes performing one a Class D felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Days after those laws went into effect, a Kentucky judge issued an injunction that temporarily allowed abortions to continue taking place. However, the appeals court reinstated the bans on August 2.