Kentucky lawmakers joined pro-life advocates Wednesday to celebrate the passage of a proposed state constitutional amendment in the legislature.
“One of the perks of my jobs as Secretary of State under the Constitution, is I get the constitutional amendments. They don’t go to the governor, they come to me,” Adams said. “I’ve already signed a couple, but I take no more pleasure than signing this one, especially.”
The amendment passed the legislature by a strong majority in March. To become part of the Kentucky Constitution, voters also must approve the amendment in November 2022.
If ratified, it would amend the Kentucky Constitution to include the following language: “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.”
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State Rep. Joseph Fischer, R-Fort Thomas, said lawmakers have been working on getting a pro-life amendment passed for more than a decade, according to the report.
“We’ve passed a lot of great pro-life legislation over the past four years, but it’s meaningless unless we have people who will enforce it, and courts who will uphold these laws,” Fischer said. “I am confident that the people of Kentucky are pro-life, and they will pass this just as Louisiana has recently.”
Noting similar amendments in other states, including Kansas and Tennessee, he continued, “We’re all pro-life states here, and that’s what this bill will show the people of the United States.”
Pro-life advocates said the amendment will prevent activist judges from striking down state pro-life laws and forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions in Kentucky, as has happened in other states.
For example, in 2018, West Virginia voters passed a pro-life constitutional amendment after decades of being forced by a court ruling to fund elective abortions with their tax dollars. Tennessee approved a similar amendment in 2014.
And in January, Kansas lawmakers passed a pro-life amendment after the Kansas Supreme Court found a so-called “right” to abortion in their state constitution in 2019. The amendment is scheduled for voters’ approval on the August 2022 ballot.
During the event Wednesday, Kentucky state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, said the “Yes for Life” amendment means Kentuckians will be allowed to make decisions about abortion in their state.
“This is probably going to be one of the most important votes the people in the state will vote on in their lifetime,” Alvarado said. “If enough states do this, it’ll push the federal government, really the Supreme Court to overturn the wrongful decision they made in 1973. This is our best chance to get this done.”
Celebrating the victory in March, Kentucky Right to Life executive director Addia Wuchner thanked lawmakers for their commitment to protecting unborn babies.
“HB 91 ensures that that the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky are not disenfranchised by a rogue court and that it is the legislature, your elected representatives, who make the law concerning the lives of our most vulnerable citizen, the unborn human child,” Wuchner said in a statement.
Todd Gray, of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, also thanked lawmakers for taking action to protect life.
“This is a chance for the citizens of the Commonwealth to speak on the issue of abortion. We are a pro-life state, so it’s a chance for folks to come out and let their voice be known,” Gray said. “I think it’s important for the bill.”
The amendment would not immediately ban abortions in Kentucky because of Roe v. Wade, but it would protect the state from pro-abortion court rulings. In several states, courts have found a so-called “right to abortion” in their state constitutions. The rulings have been used to force taxpayers to fund abortions and restrict the state legislature from passing even minor, common sense abortion restrictions.\