FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Pro-life supporters were thankful and pleased Tuesday with the Senate passage of a constitutional amendment on abortion that puts the issue in the hands of Kentucky citizens.
House Bill 91 is one sentence, but it speaks volumes and the Senate recognized that by passing it in the last hours of the 2021 General Assembly.
The amendment that will be put on the ballot in November 2022 simply states: “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.” If it passes the constitution would then pre-empt any court ruling that could legalize abortion in the state, should the federal Supreme Court reverse its ruling that guarantees a right to an abortion.
A pro-life rally outside the Capitol on Monday urged lawmakers to pass the constitutional amendment in the last two days of the session.
“Kentucky Baptists are grateful for the leadership of Senate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker David Osborne, Rep. Joe Fischer and their colleagues who allowed this constitutional amendment to move forward so the citizens of the commonwealth can let their views be known,” said Dr. Todd Gray, executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “We continue to pray for the day when legalized abortion, the greatest human rights atrocity of our day, will be abolished in Kentucky.”
Kentuckians will have the opportunity to express their opinion on abortion for the first time since 1973, Gray said. “Now Kentuckians will get a chance to let their voice be heard should Roe v. Wade be overturned.”
The measure was sponsored by Rep. Joseph Fischer, R-Ft. Thomas, who told a House panel when the proposal was introduced that there was no explicit right to abortion in the Kentucky Constitution.
“HB 91 simply assures that no Kentucky court will ever be able to fashion an implicit right to abortion from the language of our state Constitution,” Fischer said. “There will be no Roe vs. Wade decision in Kentucky.”
Abortion advocates in nearly a dozen states were able to get state court systems to say their constitutions gave that implicit right to abortion from the language of the state Constitution, Fischer said.
Family Foundation founder and director Kent Ostrander called it a “major step forward for the pro-life community in Kentucky” that will allow everyone to have their opinions heard.
“We look forward to November 8, 2022, when every Kentuckian will have a chance to affirm their convictions on the sanctity of life,” he said.
Richard Nelson, executive director of the Commonwealth Policy Center, also applauded the Senate for passing HB 91.
“This is the first step to restoring the balance of power between the legislative and judicial branches when it comes to abortion policy,” he said. “It’s an important preemptive move by our legislature to prevent another Roe v. Wade in Kentucky courts and, for that, we are grateful.”
Addia Wuchner, a former northern Kentucky lawmaker who now serves as executive director of Kentucky Right to Life, was a cheerleader for the measure.
Wuchner thanked Stivers, House Speaker David Osborne and Fischer for their leadership on the measure and the House and Senate for their consideration and support of the important bill.
"We have been especially blessed to work in partnership with our tremendous pro-life organizations - Sisters for Life, Family Foundation, the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky and the Commonwealth Policy Center," she said. "I am sincerely grateful to the many people across the commonwealth who responded in prayer and action reaching out to their legislators to affirm their support for HB 91 and their Yes for Life! To God be the glory, always."
“We are excited about the passage of HB91, Kentucky's pro-life constitutional amendment," she said. "To God be the glory, always."