This newspaper’s editorial board has long held the view that abortion is wrong and that every child deserves a chance at life.
We still are of that belief, except in cases of rape and incest.
Kentucky is a largely pro-life state with a majority that rightfully believes as we do that abortion is paramount to murder, especially when it pertains to late-term abortions.
In recent years, Republican and some moderate Democratic legislators passed several anti-abortion bills that were signed into law by then-Gov. Matt Bevin in an attempt to put tighter restrictions on abortion in our state. We’ve supported those tighter restrictions, as well as the legislators and Bevin who backed them by signing their bills into law.
Several other states have passed anti-abortion laws similar to those in Kentucky. These laws will ultimately be heard by the U.S Supreme Court and we are hopeful that the high court upholds these laws, which we believe are constitutional.
Last year, Kentuckians narrowly elected Gov. Andy Beshear, a pro-choice Democrat. Beshear’s record of being pro-abortion is well known. As the state’s attorney general, he refused to defend anti-abortion laws passed by the state legislature and even accepted support from abortion-rights groups.
It’s hard to believe that in a very evangelical, conservative state such as Kentucky that we have a governor who is pro-choice, but we do.
During the recently completed legislative session, Senate Bill 9 was passed with bipartisan support in Frankfort. If signed into law, the bill would’ve given Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron authority to stop abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also would have protected infants who are “born alive” after failed abortions.
Our editorial board was very supportive of this piece of legislation, but unfortunately and sadly on Friday, Beshear vetoed SB 9. Instead of addressing Cameron in his veto message, he said he vetoed the bill “because existing Kentucky law already protects children from being denied life-saving medical care and treatment when they are born.”
An amended version of SB 9 sent to the governor declared abortion to be an elective medical procedure, which Beshear has banned during the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to help preserve personal protective equipment and slow the spread of the disease. Defining which medical procedures are elective has largely been left to the medical community to decide on a case-by-case basis.
Here’s where we really take issue with Beashear’s veto. The term “elective” covers a wide variety of procedures – including cataract, cosmetic, orthopedic surgery and other types of surgery.
We believe that abortion is an elective surgery, unless a woman’s life is in severe danger, so it appears with this veto that Beshear is picking and choosing what he is defining as an elective surgery, which is very unfortunate and quite frankly unfair.
Does it seem fair to deny people who need legitimate surgeries the opportunity to do so, but simultaneously allow the murder of unborn children to continue to occur on a daily basis?
We think not.
While Beshear should be ashamed of vetoing a bill that received bipartisan support in the legislature and that a majority of our citizens supported, Republicans are at fault for failing to do more to make this become law sooner.
State Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, was the sponsor of Senate Bill 9 and he introduced the bill soon after the session began in January. It was passed by both chambers and could’ve been sent to Beshear’s desk in plenty of time before this year’s legislative session ended April 15. Instead, Republicans and moderate Democrats who supported it waited until the final hours of the legislative session. Once the legislature adjourned, they had no rights under Kentucky law to override Beshear’s veto.
There are politics at play here. Legislators knew full well that Beshear would veto this bill, and if they really wanted this to become law they would’ve delivered it to Beshear in ample time to override him before the session ended. But they didn’t. So while blame certainly rests with Beshear for vetoing a piece of legislation that should’ve, and needed to, become law, blame also rests with the Republican majority who played politics with this bill instead of taking steps to ensure it would become law in Kentucky.