FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – On Tuesday the Kentucky Supreme Court will hear a case that will determine the future of abortion in Kentucky.
Planned Parenthood and others are challenging the state’s Human Rights Protection Act which bans abortion except when the mother’s life is in danger.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron will defend the law.
“We firmly believe that, right now, there is no right to abortion that is written within our constitution. Matt Kuhn, our solicitor general, will make that point and stress that point in front of the justices,” Cameron told Kentucky Today in an exclusive interview.
Cameron said the argument he will present to the justices will not change despite the defeat of Amendment 2 on Election Day.
The amendment would have made it explicitly clear there is no right to abortion in the state constitution. But Cameron said, even without Amendment 2, the state constitution does not include a right to abortion.
His office filed a motion on Wednesday urging the court to "interpret our Constitution based on its original meaning.”
“There was no comment related to abortion. The history in Kentucky, as it relates to jurisprudence in this state, demonstrates that there was no right to abortion within our constitution,” Cameron said.
“In fact, even right before the Roe decision, Kentucky was pretty consistent in saying there was no right to an abortion in Kentucky. Roe obviously changed that, and I think Dobbs [the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe vs. Wade] gets us back to the status-quo which, in Kentucky, meant that there was no right to an abortion in our state constitution.”
But there is concern among some pro-life advocates that the defeat of Amendment 2 leaves the door open to judges finding an implied right to abortion.
“That is what, I think, the advocates for abortion will say – that there is some implied right to abortion within our constitution. But, in my view – and I want to be respectful as it relates to our justices – we should be in the business of interpreting the law as written, not based on policy preferences or different ideas that are outside the confines of a document that is written,” said Cameron.
“And it’s pretty clear that there was a determination made at the founding of those documents, of our state constitution, that they decided not to include a right to abortion in there.”
And Cameron hopes the justices also take note the law was passed with bipartisan support.
“In my belief, it expresses the values of the men, women, and children of all 120 counties. And so, I think, it is appropriate for our legislature, for our General Assembly, to pass laws that reflect those values,” said Cameron.
“In fact, when this passed in 2019, it passed with overwhelming, bipartisan support. I’m heartened by that. I hope the justices recognize that within our constitution, there is no right to abortion and proceed accordingly.”
The high court will hear the case at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. The hearing will be streamed live at https://www.ket.org/ky-supreme-court/.