A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Angry with Beshear over veto of SB 9, Cameron keeping watch on other abortion-related bills

By Mark Maynard
Kentucky Today

While Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of Senate Bill 9 – the Born Alive Act – stopped one pro-life bill, several other laws from the administration of former Gov. Matt Bevin are still facing court challenges.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron said he is keeping a close watch on the bills. Two are awaiting ruling from the U.S. Sixth District Circuit Court and two others were consolidated and have been temporarily stayed due to the Sixth Circuit considering a similar statute from Ohio. The consolidated bills were the Abortion ‘Discrimination’ Bill and the Fetal Heartbeat Bill.

Cameron was among many who were angry over Beshear’s veto of Senate Bill 9 that was meant to protect lives of newborns, including any infant born after a failed abortion. It would have made it a felony for any physician or other health provider in Kentucky to fail to take steps to try to “preserve the life and health of a born-alive infant.”

Daniel Cameron

Beshear said Kentucky law already protects children from being denied life-saving medical care and treatment when they are born.

Cameron said the veto was an “affront to the people of Kentucky,” whose elected representatives voted in a bipartisan manner for the bill.

The bill included a provision that would have allowed the attorney general to enforce a law requiring abortion clinics to have a written agreement with a hospital so that patients may be transferred to the hospital if an emergency occurs. It gives the attorney general the ability to deem what is an essential medical service. Abortion had been deemed an essential service during the COVID-19 quarantine.

“It’s also disheartening that he would issue a veto against a bill that gives my office the authority to hold abortion clinics accountable to the law,” he said. “The people of Kentucky elected me to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth, and I had hoped that Governor Beshear would welcome having me as a partner with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in enforcing our health and safety laws, rather than rebuking the people’s wishes.”

Other lawmakers expressed their disappointment of the governor’s veto and vowed to make it a top priority in the 2021 General Assembly.

Below is a look at the bills from the Bevin administration that were consolidated and temporarily stayed.

Abortion ‘Discrimination’ Bill

Bans doctors from performing an abortion if they believe the patient is seeking the procedure because of the gender, race or disability of the fetus. North Dakota and Arizona have similar laws. The measure was signed into law by Bevin. The American Civil Liberties Union immediately challenged it in court. A federal judge has blocked the law from going into effect while the lawsuit continues.

The Fetal Heartbeat Bill

A ban on abortions at the point when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks. That’s earlier than some people first realize they are pregnant. Other states have passed similar laws, like Iowa in 2018. However, that law was struck down by the Iowa Supreme Court in January of this year.

Want more great content like this?

Become a sustaining member of KyForward with a tax-deductible donation today and help us continue to provide accurate, up-to-date local news and information you can depend on.

Click here to donate now!

Bevin signed this measure into law, but the ACLU of Kentucky immediately filed suit to challenge it. A federal judge has blocked enforcement of the new law until the final ruling in district court.

Cameron said bills are awaiting a ruling from the Sixth Circuit:

Transfer Agreement Law

A requirement that abortion clinics in Kentucky have agreements with a hospital and ambulance service in the case of a medical emergency. In September 2018, a federal judge struck down the law, but the state appealed that ruling.

Earlier in 2018, the Cabinet for Health and Family Service said that Kentucky’s last remaining abortion clinic – the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville – didn’t have the right transfer agreements and tried to close the clinic. A judge signed an order to keep the clinic open until the case is settled in court.

Second Trimester Law

This law, passed in 2018, banned a common second trimester abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation.” The procedure was used in 537 of 3,312 abortions in 2016, according to state data. During debates over the measure, the bill’s supporters called the procedure “gruesome.” The ACLU sued and a judge heard arguments in November 2018. The law has been blocked while a final ruling is still pending.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment