(The Center Square) – Kentucky voters Tuesday decided against adding an anti-abortion amendment to the state’s constitution.
According to results posted by KET, 714,701 voters said No to Amendment 2. That represents 52.6% of the vote, with six of the state’s 120 counties left to report.
Opposition to the amendment was beating support for it by more than 70,000 votes as of 10:30 am ET on Wednesday.
The proposed amendment was similar to one voters in Kansas rejected three months ago. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union helped lead to opposition.
“This is a victory for bodily autonomy and the right of all Kentuckians to make the best decisions for themselves, but the fight is not over,” said Amber Duke, interim executive director for the ACLU of Kentucky, in a statement shortly after midnight Wednesday. “We will now continue our fight in state court to restore abortion access in the commonwealth.”
Kentucky lawmakers previously enacted a so-called trigger law that took effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling. That law allows an abortion only if it is medically necessary to save the person’s life or prevent a disability. It does not include exceptions for rape and incest.
The ACLU of Kentucky and Planned Parenthood have filed a lawsuit to overturn the state’s trigger law and another law that prevents abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy.
During its 2021 session, the Kentucky General Assembly passed on near party-line votes House Bill 91, which proposed the constitutional amendment brought before voters Tuesday.
Kentucky is considered a conservative state outside its two large urban centers, Louisville and Lexington. For example, in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate race, progressive Democratic candidate Charles Booker only carried Louisville’s Jefferson County, Lexington’s Fayette County and Franklin County, home to the state capital of Frankfort. With 114 counties reporting, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul won nearly 870,000 votes, leading Booker 61.4% to 38.6%.
But on Amendment 2, 21 of the 114 counties reporting rejected the amendment. That included seven of the state’s nine most populous counties and counties like Oldham and Scott, suburban counties to Louisville and Lexington, respectively, that are considered Republican strongholds.
Amendment 2 was supported by such groups as The Family Foundation of Kentucky and the Catholic Conference of Kentucky.
The state’s Roman Catholic Bishops said in a statement they hope the amendment’s defeat will not lead to the state’s courts determining abortion policy in the state. That, Archbishop Shelton Fabre of Louisville, Bishop John Iffert of Covington, Bishop William Medley of Owensboro and Bishop John Stowe of Lexington said, is best left to the state’s General Assembly.
The bishops also said they understood some voters had “serious concerns” about the amendment. Some who opposed the measure did so because of fears it would lead to a permanent ban even for women and girls who become pregnant due to rape and incest.
“We must continue to insist on legal protection for unborn human life, but we also stand ready to work with all people of goodwill to advance policies that support Kentuckians in vulnerable situations and that ensure access to health care for all,” the bishops’ statement read.