The following letter was written by Rev. Wayne A. Gnatuk, a retired Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastor who resides in Louisville, and who serves as the Board Chair of Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Get prepared to vote! Visit our Voter Information Center to view a sample ballot and find out how to vote by mail, vote early, or vote on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8.
In a state as religiously diverse as Kentucky, a ban on abortion threatens the religious liberty guaranteed to all citizens under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice urges all Kentucky voters to oppose Amendment 2, one of two proposed amendments to the Kentucky state constitution that will be on the ballot November 8.
Amendment 2 would amend the Kentucky constitution to state that “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.” While our constitution does not specifically mention abortion, its protection of our right to privacy has been used to argue for the right to choose an abortion. Amendment 2, if passed, would rule out that pathway to legality. If passed, Amendment 2 would allow for a total ban on abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, and in cases where the life and health of the pregnant person are at risk. As we have seen in other states, the consequences of these laws are very real.
Who is KRCRC? We are people of faith and conscience—including both Christians and Jews––who belong to a wide variety of religious communities. For more than forty years, our group has worked to protect reproductive choice through education, advocacy and political engagement. KRCRC is now a member of Protect Kentucky Access, a state-wide coalition that is dedicated to keeping politics out of our most private decisions.
KRCRC, along with many faith communities, affirms that abortion can be a responsible choice, in which individuals are guided by moral codes and religious beliefs of their own choosing. Some people mistakenly believe that all religions condemn abortion and consider it sinful. Not true—many faith traditions, including both Christian and Jewish, support the right of individuals to make their own decisions in the highly personal areas of reproduction and family life.
Amendment 2 would deny religious freedom, allowing extremist politicians to override individual religious convictions and to impose their own religion-based views on people who do not share them.
If Amendment 2 passes, it will amount to a permanent ban on abortion in Kentucky. The Amendment would endanger many freedoms that Kentuckians now take for granted: to choose from a full range of contraceptives, to gain access to many forms of health care, to use telehealth services. It would put politicians in the doctor’s office, the pharmacy, the school or university health service. It would limit the ability of doctors and clergy to advise, and medical providers to treat, people who face a difficult, even life-threatening pregnancy.