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Beshear: Roe v. Wade was ‘generally right’, but some abortion restrictions necessary

Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear giving his daily coronavirus briefing on 4/9/20.
Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear giving his daily coronavirus briefing on 4/9/20.

Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision was “generally right,” but that he still supports some restrictions on the procedure.

Roe guaranteed access to abortion up to the point in which a fetus could survive outside the womb, generally considered to be the 23rd or 24th week of pregnancy.

The recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision overturned Roe, allowing states to restrict abortions before the point of viability.

And while Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature passed laws that seek to effectively ban abortions in the state, Beshear says lawmakers have gone too far. But he still said some abortions shouldn’t be allowed.

“This ultimately should be a rare, but legal procedure,” Beshear said during a news conference on Thursday. “Where Roe was to say ‘let’s make sure we don’t have people undergoing real harm with an illicit procedure.’”

Beshear said he has always been against “late-term abortions,” but believes that Roe provided a needed balance.

He said Kentucky’s “trigger law,” which totally bans abortions in almost all cases, would upset that balance.

“Kentucky is an extremist position if the trigger law goes into effect, where even victims of rape and incest have zero options and that’s wrong,” Beshear said.

“Most people in this state, though they feel passionately about this issue even in different ways, agree that a 12 or 13 year-old girl assaulted and impregnated by a family member should have options,” Beshear said.

A judge temporarily blocked Kentucky’s abortion ban from being enforced last week after the ACLU and Planned Parenthood sued to keep it from going into effect.

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron appealed the decision, but was denied.

Kentuckians will weigh in on a constitutional amendment in November that would explicitly not protect abortion under the state constitution. 

Beshear said he will be voting “no” on the amendment.

During the news conference, Beshear also said he has not been updated about whether President Joe Biden still plans to nominate an anti-abortion, Republican lawyer to fill a federal judicial seat in Kentucky.

Last week, the Louisville Courier-Journal broke the story that Biden planned to nominate Chad Meredith, a former top lawyer for Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Gov. Matt Bevin, for the lifetime appointment.

Beshear called the potential nomination “indefensible” last week. On Thursday, he renewed his call for the president to reverse course.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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