Kentucky Governor Andrew Beshear on Friday vetoed Senate Bill 9, which would have allowed the state’s Attorney General to restrict abortion access during the COVID-19 outbreak. The bill also would have required doctors to try to preserve the lives of any infants born alive in attempted abortions.
For failing to provide “medically appropriate and reasonable medical care and treatment to a born-alive infant,” health professionals would have faced civil actions for compensatory and punitive damages under the bill. They would also have faced disciplinary action and the suspension or revocation of the professional’s license.
In his veto message, Beshear stated that he was vetoing the bill because children were already fully protected at birth from being denied “life-saving medical care and treatment” under Kentucky law. Similar bills have been struck down as unconstitutional in the past.
Beshear also emphasized the need for unity during the pandemic, which he felt would be challenged by Senate Bill 9. In his statement, the governor said:
During this worldwide health pandemic, it is simply not the time for a divisive set of lawsuits that reduce our unity and our focus on defeating the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and restarting out economy.