Committee Hearing Testimony of Rep. Joe Fischer
HB 91 is a short and simple constitutional amendment— It reads, “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
The Bill passed 75-20 in the House.
To be clear, there is currently no right to an abortion in our Ky constitution.
HB 91 simply assures that no Ky court will be able to fashion an implicit right to abortion from the language in our state constitution: there will be no Roe v. Wade decision in Ky. The regulation or elimination of abortion will be vested in the Ky General Assembly, not in the courts.
HB 91 does not restrict abortion, but only determines which branch of government will regulate it. Since our current constitution contains no explicit right to abortion, you may ask, why do we need it?
For several years now, abortion proponents in many states have been executing a strategy to persuade their state courts to discover a right to abortion in their constitutions. So far, at least 11 state supreme courts have fashioned or “found” such a right. [Note to the reader— this is what occurred in Roe v. Wade. SCOTUS found a ‘right to privacy’ in the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.]
The strategy worked first in Tennessee in 2004, and in the Iowa and Kansas supreme courts in 2019.
Last week the Kansas legislature voted to place this same ballot language in their constitution. In 2018 Alabama and W. Va. preemptively struck back and placed this amendment on their ballots and it passed.
Last year Louisiana passed this same language, 62-38, to preempt their state supreme courts from discovering a right to abortion in their constitutions.
We have passed legislation in recent years, the pain capable and ultrasound laws, that have survived challenges in federal court. This will prohibit this ‘forum shopping’ in state courts to challenge those again.
I yield to my colleague, Addia Wuchner, for her statement.
Testimony of Addia Wuchner
Thank you Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee.
I serve now as Executive Director of KRLA and the Ky RTL Educational Foundation, and I am here representing our affiliates and all pro-life organizations across the Commonwealth to ask you to support HB 91.
HB 91 reminds us that the Constitution is the great equalizer. It assures that the lawmakers are the ones who make the laws that protect the rights of women and their informed consent, and protects the rights of the unborn —the human rights of the child.
It assures that those rights and the right to pass those laws are with you, the duly elected people of Commonwealth of Ky.
It was further explained that HB 91 is not a preemptive strike on Roe v. Wade, nor does it prevent a future legislature from expanding abortion rights, nor does it affect the specifics of abortion law such as for reasons of saving the woman’s life.