The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of Kentucky Policy Strategist Jackie McGranahan regarding Governor Beshear's veto of House Bill 3, slate of abortion restrictions and 15-week ban:
The ACLU of Kentucky applauds Governor Andy Beshear’s veto of House Bill 3. This legislation was designed to push a safe and effective method of abortion care out of reach, shame and ostracize patients, and make the process of seeking and providing abortion care so difficult that patients may forgo care and providers may be forced to close their doors. It would also entirely ban abortion care after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The Kentucky General Assembly’s passage of HB3 demonstrates abject ignorance of medical science and is a dangerous effort to push important reproductive healthcare out of reach for all Kentuckians, regardless of their circumstances.
Kentucky legislators have continued to use the power of the state to force people to remain pregnant against their will, and it is clear they will stop at nothing until all Kentuckians are unable to make these important decisions for themselves. These moments determine the trajectory of a person’s life and wellbeing, and decisions about them must be made by the people in them. No government should ever have the authority to force a person to remain pregnant against their will.
House Bill 3 is an extensive 60+ page bill with several provisions designed to restrict access to safe and effective medication abortion care. Proponents say these restrictions are to improve safety, yet they fly in the face of healthcare providers’ and regulators’ recommendations. Abortion care is an extremely safe practice with lower complication rates than simple procedures like wisdom tooth extractions.
This legislation is so extreme it would even make it more difficult for minors who have survived violence or trafficking to seek care. Senators rejected an amendment to exempt survivors of rape and incest; Representatives rejected a similar amendment, as well as another that would have exempted people facing life-threatening health complications.
House Bill 3 also contains an emergency clause that would require immediate enforcement if enacted into law. This would make it impossible for state agencies, healthcare providers, and patients to comply because HB3 would require programs to be immediately created that do not yet exist. It is clear the main goal of this emergency clause is to force providers to choose between breaking the law and closing their doors.
Last, House Bill 3 was amended to include Senate Bill 321, a complete ban on abortion care after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Banning abortion care at 15 weeks is patently unconstitutional and defies long standing Supreme Court precedent.
We wrote to the House Standing Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection clearly outlining our concerns before they considered House Bill 3. We also testified in committee alongside a practicing Kentucky OBGYN, social workers, and a Kentuckian who sought medically-necessary care. Lawmakers instead chose to listen to an out-of-state emergency physician who is running for elected office.
We wrote to Governor Beshear urging him to veto House Bill 3 and outlining the Constitutional and irreparable harm this legislation could cause. We deeply appreciate his time and consideration. His explanation for the veto can be found here.
We strongly urge all concerned Kentuckians to contact lawmakers and ask them to uphold Governor Beshear's veto. The General Assembly will have the chance to override vetoes on April 13 and 14. Lawmakers can override a veto with only a constitutional majority of 51 votes in the House of Representatives and 20 votes in the Senate.
This poorly written bill inserts politics into medicine, aggressively sidelines science in healthcare, and threatens the wellbeing of Kentuckians. House Bill 3 has nothing to do with improving patient safety; it’s just another way for extreme Kentucky politicians to push their political agenda at the expense of their constituents’ lives.
Abortion care remains legal in Kentucky and patients can still seek that care in Kentucky.