Voters in Republican-leaning Kentucky have rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have denied any right to abortion.
The result of Tuesday’s election comes months after the Supreme Court overturned the right to abortion in a decision that has led to near-total bans in a dozen states, including in Kentucky.
The ballot question had asked Kentuckians if they wanted to amend the constitution to say: “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.”
The outcome highlights a gap between voters and the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature, which added the proposed amendment to the 2022 general election slate a year ago in a move some thought would drive more conservative voters to the polls.
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Rachel Sweet of Protect Kentucky Access, an abortion-rights coalition, hailed the outcome as a “historic win” against “government overreach” into the personal medical decisions of Kentuckians.
The Family Foundation, a faith-based organization opposed to abortion, said Wednesday that “the fight for the unborn” will continue.
“While we are disappointed in the results of Amendment 2, the pro-life movement in Kentucky and across the nation is steadfast in its resolve to continue defending life,” David Walls, the group’s executive director, said in a written statement. “Kentucky’s laws protecting preborn children remain in place and Kentuckians have returned large, pro-life legislative majorities to the General Assembly.”
While seen as an important win for abortion-rights advocates, the amendment’s defeat will have no practical impact on the right to an abortion if a sweeping ban on the procedure approved by lawmakers survives a legal challenge presently before the state Supreme Court.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has a hearing next week on challenges by the state’s two remaining abortion clinics to the near-total abortion ban approved by lawmakers. The high court ruled this summer that the ban would stay in place while it reviewed the challenges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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