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Kentucky rejects anti-abortion constitutional modification in shock victory for reproductive rights

Counter-protestors maintain indicators in entrance of a rally encouraging voters to vote sure on Modification 2, which might add a everlasting abortion ban to Kentuckys state structure, on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, on October 1, 2022.

Stefani Reynolds | AFP | Getty Photos

In a shock victory for reproductive rights, voters in conservative Kentucky have rejected a proposed modification to the state structure that might have protected the state’s abortion ban from authorized problem, NBC Information tasks. 

Kentucky banned abortion instantly after the Supreme Court docket overturned Roe v. Wade in June. The modification put earlier than voters Tuesday was an try by anti-abortion activists to defend the state’s ban from authorized challenges by making it ironclad underneath the state structure.

Though abortion stays unlawful in Kentucky, the defeat of the constitutional modification will make it simpler for reproductive rights activists to combat the ban in state courts.

“It is a victory for bodily autonomy and the best of all Kentuckians to make the most effective choices for themselves, however the combat isn’t over,” stated Amber Duke, government director for the ACLU of Kentucky. “We’ll now proceed our combat in state court docket to revive abortion entry within the commonwealth.”

The defeat of the modification in Kentucky is one other indication that there are limits to anti-abortion even in conservative states. Defend Kentucky Entry, the coalition that opposed the modification, ran a average marketing campaign that sought to additionally win over conservatives who help abortion restrictions but additionally consider the process is important in some conditions.

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Kentucky’s abortion ban makes performing the medical process against the law punishable by as much as 5 years in jail. There aren’t any exceptions for rape or incest, however there may be one for when the mom’s is at risk. Girls can’t be prosecuted for receiving an abortion underneath the Kentucky legislation.

Kentucky has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Invoice Clinton in 1996. Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell has represented the state in Washington since 1985. On Tuesday, Kentucky re-elected Republican Sen. Rand Paul, one other deeply conservative politician.

The defeat of the anti-abortion poll measure in Kentucky is the second shock victory for abortion rights in a conservative state because the Supreme Court docket overturned Roe over the summer season. In August, voters in Kansas resoundingly rejected a measure that sought to strip abortion rights from the state structure.

Different states defend abortion

In one other necessary victory for reproductive rights, Michigan on Tuesday voted to guard abortion as proper underneath its state structure. The institution of abortion without any consideration underneath Michigan’s structure comes after the autumn of Roe raised the chance {that a} 91-year-old ban on the process may return into impact. 

Michigan will now change into an necessary secure haven for girls searching for abortions within the Midwest, the place entry is dwindling after the autumn of Roe.

California and Vermont additionally voted to guard abortion without any consideration underneath their state constitutions in Tuesday’s midterm . Although reproductive rights have been by no means in jeopardy in these solidly liberal states, the amendments assure abortion entry for future generations. 

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A strong majority of midterm voters nationwide, some 60%, stated abortion needs to be authorized, in response to NBC Information exit polls. And 27% of voters stated abortion was a very powerful subject for them, behind solely amongst voters’ issues, in response to the exit polls.

Sixty % of voters stated they have been both dissatisfied or offended with the Supreme Court docket’s choice to overturn Roe, in response to the polls. Thirty-seven % of voters stated they have been enthusiastic or glad with the excessive court docket’s choice to finish federal abortion rights.

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