Kentucky’s “Yes for Life” Amendment: Protection from activist state judges

Courts have found a right to abortion in eleven state constitutions — this amendment seeks to ensure it doesn’t happen here.

July/August 2021 Issue

The “YES for Life” Constitutional Amendment to the Kentucky Constitution, set for a vote by the citizens of Kentucky on Nov. 8 of 2022, was specifically initiated to make sure that no state judge or group of state judges can “find” or “create” a state right to an abortion or the right to have an abortion paid for with taxpayer dollars.

The amendment, filed as House Bill 91 in the 2021 Session, was crafted by Rep. Joe Fischer (R- Ft. Thomas) to ensure no “Roe v. Wade-type” judicial decision can generate a radical change by circumventing the General Assembly, the state’s policy-making body.

Clearly, the Kentucky Constitution does not even contain the words “abortion,” “pro-choice”, or “reproductive rights”. . . But, neither did the U.S. Constitution when, in 1973, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court justices found a right to abortion within it.

Without doubt, it was an egregious example of judicial activism — when justices (and lessor judges) legislate from the bench, rather than allow duly-elected legislators debate an issue and pass appropriate legislation.

Such judicial activism in the state courts is a real possibility. Eleven states have already had their own courts discover a guaranteed right to an abortion in their constitutions—including Florida, Kansas, and Iowa since 2017.

At least four states have passed amendments like Kentucky’s proposed “YES for Life” amendment to deal with their state courts – Alabama, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Tennessee.

A vote for the “YES for Life” Amendment, on Nov. 8, 2022, will be a vote for the pro-life Kentucky Legislature’s authority on the abortion question, thus protecting activist courts from voiding the voice of the people and the pro-life laws their representatives choose to enact.

 

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