Amendment No. 2 on Kentucky ballots could change future laws on abortion access

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 6:08 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2022 at 11:26 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - On November 8th, voters will head to the polls to cast their ballots, but what is at stake in this election?

At the bottom of the Kentucky ballot is Amendment 2. This proposed amendment to the state Constitution could impact future abortion rights here in the Commonwealth.

“What Amendment 2 is designed to do, is to prohibit the state Supreme Court, or state judges, from determining that our state constitution has a right to an abortion,” said Dr. Jeffrey Budziak, Associate Dean of the Potter College of Arts & Letters & Associate Professor of Political Science at Western Kentucky University. “The reason the language is framed the way it is, is what it is trying to do is say, state judges cannot construe the Constitution in any way to find a right to an abortion.”

Back in June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

While overturning Roe v. Wade didn’t ban access to abortion on the federal level, it did do away with federal protections for abortions, meaning it’s completely up to states.

Future of Abortion in Kentucky

As it stands, states, including Kentucky, can still implement abortion bans, whether or not the amendment passes in Kentucky. If the amendment fails, nothing changes in Kentucky; the abortion ban will remain in place.

The Kentucky Supreme Court will be hearing arguments on a lawsuit over the ban on Nov. 15 at 10 a.m., according to a Kentucky Supreme Court disposition, and they could decide the Constitution includes no protections for abortion even if the amendment fails.

If the amendment passes, however, that would make it difficult for lawsuits against the abortion bans to move forward because the amended constitution would explicitly state it does not protect the right to abortion.

Voting on Constitutional Amendment 2 will determine whether or not the state can implement those laws.

Dr. Budziak believes knowing which state officials to vote for is just as important.

“The truth is, for voters who are fired up about abortion policy, it is gonna be your state officials who are going to be making these decisions in the future. I think if you are a voter who feels really strongly one way or the other on abortion issues, you really want to know who you are voting for at the state and local level now,” said Budziak.

“It is good to know who you are voting for at the federal level too, but that is not where the politics of abortion are going to be fought, at least in the short term,” Dr. Budziak said.

Voting Yes or No on Constitutional Amendment 2

This poses the question, what does voting “Yes” mean, and what does “No” mean?

“If you are voting yes, you are voting to amend the Kentucky constitution to stop state judges from finding a state Constitutional right to abortion. If you are voting no, you are voting for what we have now, which does not guarantee abortion access, but it leaves the question back to state judges.” Dr. Budziak says.

Election Information

The election is on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Voting begins at 6 a.m. local time and concludes at 6 p.m. local time.

If you are standing in line at 6 p.m., you are still able to vote. Remain in line.

Early in-person voting will be taking place Nov. 3-5.

For a look at sample ballots and more information on the upcoming election, click here.

Editor’s Note: We’ve added more information to this story to help clarify and explain the proposed amendment. We’ve also added information surrounding the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Copyright 2022 WBKO. All rights reserved.