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SCOTUS Rulings Could Further Restrict KY Abortion Access

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Monday, November 22, 2021   

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling related to the Texas six-week abortion ban this week, and hears arguments Dec. 1 in a Mississippi case experts say could challenge the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.

Tamara Weider, Kentucky state director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, said Kentuckians' already restricted access to abortion is at risk. She cites state lawmakers' passage earlier this year of a constitutional amendment making it easier to ban abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

"This 'no right to abortion' amendment does not have any exemptions for rape, for incest, for sexual assault or fetal anomaly, or even life of the mother," Weider pointed out.

Kentuckians will vote on the constitutional amendment next November. House Bill 91 would create a new section of Kentucky's Constitution stating the Commonwealth does not secure or protect a right to or funding of abortion. Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and West Virginia have enacted similar amendments.

Weider explained Kentucky law requires women be given counseling and wait 24-hours before an abortion. It also requires providers to perform an ultrasound and explain to the patient what it depicts. Weider said the Texas lawmakers' six-week abortion ban is a template for other states seeking to pass similar measures.

"We've heard from legislators in Frankfort," Weider noted. "They do intend to bring about some version of the Texas bill. What that looks like is yet to be determined because they haven't pre-filed anything."

Weider sees the Mississippi case as a pivotal moment for abortion access nationwide. 'Dobbs versus Jackson' involves a law which bans all abortions after 15 weeks, before fetal viability, which medical experts say occurs at 24 weeks of gestation. Weider noted a similar Kentucky law was struck down in 2019.

"I think that it's very safe to say that we are going to see, legislatively, a complete and utter attack on what's left of access," Weider projected.

In a recent poll by the Washington Post and ABC, 60% of Americans said they believe the Roe v. Wade decision should be upheld, and 27% believe the Supreme Court should overturn it. Three-quarters of respondents said abortion decisions should be left to women and their doctors.


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