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Amendment 2, which would add anti-abortion language to the state constitution, fails

Abortion Kentucky
Posted at 11:12 PM, Nov 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-09 10:54:54-05

(LEX 18) — Voters in Kentucky have voted down a ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to say there is no right to abortion.

State lawmakers have already passed a near-total ban. The ballot measure would have undercut legal arguments from abortion-rights supporters challenging abortion restrictions.

"This is a victory for bodily autonomy and the right of all Kentuckians to make the best decisions for themselves, but the fight is not over," said Amber Duke, interim executive director for the ACLU of Kentucky. "We will now continue our fight in state court to restore abortion access in the commonwealth."

"Thank you to everyone who voted Yes on 2 and supported this important cause," said Kentucky Right to Life Executive Director Addia Wuchner, RN in a statement. "Today, we are disappointed. But tomorrow, we will be motivated. This work is too important to quit, and we look forward to the next phase of prolife advocacy in Kentucky.”

Lawmakers added the proposed amendment to the ballot last year, a move that some thought would drive more conservative voters to the polls. But since the Roe decision, abortion-rights supporters have raised nearly $1.5 million to fight it. The decision mirrors the surprise outcome this summer in conservative Kansas, where voters overwhelmingly defeated a similar amendment that would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban the procedure outright.

A defeat for the Kentucky ballot measure wouldn’t have a direct effect on the laws already passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, including a near-total ban with a narrow exception for the woman's health that the state Supreme Court allowed to go into effect. A court hearing for a challenge to that law is set for Nov. 15.