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Despite Governor’s Veto, Kentucky Enacts Strict Abortion Ban

Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, had vetoed the bill that includes a 15-week ban and which opponents said could shut down abortion access in the state. But in Louisville, reports say the police are now enforcing the anti-harassment “safety zone” around an abortion clinic to protect access.

The Wall Street Journal:
Kentucky Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto, Passes Abortion Restrictions

The Kentucky Legislature overrode its governor’s veto and passed new abortion regulations Wednesday that local providers said would force them to cease offering the procedure immediately, potentially making Kentucky the first state in decades without legal access to abortion. The bill imposes additional reporting requirements on providers related in part to medication abortions and stipulates that they can’t dispose of fetal remains as medical waste and must work with a funeral home to provide individual burial or cremation, among other provisions. The bill also bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with an exception for the life or health of the mother, similar to a Mississippi law now being weighed by the Supreme Court. (Kusisto and Calfas, 4/13)

The 19th:
Kentucky Legislature Passes Abortion Ban Originally Vetoed By Gov. Beshear

Kentucky is the first state where clinics will completely stop providing abortions. The state legislature enacted a far-reaching abortion law Wednesday with so many restrictions, including a 15-week ban, that clinics said they have been forced to stop performing the procedure. The law, known as House Bill 3, takes effect immediately. The state’s two abortion clinics, Planned Parenthood and EMW Women’s Surgical Center, will be filing lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. But unless the law is blocked, neither health center will provide abortions, clinic lawyers said. It is not clear if or when the court will respond to the legal challenge. (Luthra, 4/13)

Louisville Courier Journal:
Legal Challenge Will Follow Override Of Kentucky Abortion Bill Veto

Kentucky’s Republican-controlled General Assembly on Wednesday  voted to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of an “omnibus” abortion bill that opponents say is so broad it will shut down access in the state. And because it contains an emergency provision, House Bill 3 will become law as soon as it gets the signature of Senate President Robert Stivers, expected later Wednesday. Opponents said Wednesday they would immediately head to federal court asking a judge to block House Bill 3. Final passage of HB 3 makes Kentucky the first state to end all access to abortion, opponents said. (Yetter, 4/13)

In related news from Kentucky —

Louisville Courier Journal:
Warnings, Citations Given To Louisville Abortion Clinic Protesters

After some initial delays,  Louisville Metro Police are now enforcing the 2021 “safety zone” ordinance that calls for a written warning for the first offense and citations and fines for subsequent violations. Since September, 14 protesters have received warnings — one of them cited for multiple offenses. Three others have been charged with criminal trespassing for coming onto clinic property. That enforcement is making a difference, says clinic operators, who have repeatedly called on Louisville officials to do more about instances where protesters follow patients to the door, touch or grab them, or attempt to block them from entering. (Yetter, 4/14)

In other abortion news from Idaho, Texas, and elsewhere —

Catholic Church Can’t Intervene In Idaho Abortion Lawsuit 

The Idaho Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request by the Roman Catholic Church in Idaho to intervene in a lawsuit over a new Idaho law banning nearly all abortions. The court did not explain why the church was excluded after the Diocese of Boise on Monday asked to be allowed to join the lawsuit in support of the ban. (Ridler, 4/13)

How Red States Plan to Reach Beyond Their Borders and Outlaw Abortion in America

Texas’ short-lived prosecution of Lizelle Herrera, who was charged with murder for a self-induced abortion, is a preview of what’s to come if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The far-right bloc of justices has signaled their interest in overturning the precedent, and a decision is expected in June. When Roe is gone, 26 states will ban abortion. Across the country, red states are already building a new regime to mete out punishments for abortion providers, patients, and their families. (Stern, 4/13)

Fox News:
Biden’s Sister Argues Democrats Are The ‘Pro-Life’ Party On Abortion In New Memoir

Valerie Biden Owens, President Biden’s younger sister, argues that Democrats are more “pro-life” than Republicans on abortion in her upcoming memoir. Owens, a longtime campaign adviser and political confidante to Biden, will be releasing her memoir titled, “Growing Up Biden: A Memoir” on Tuesday. Fox News Digital received a copy of the book Monday afternoon. Within the memoir, Owens writes that Democrats picked the wrong term for their abortion stance. Instead of wanting to be called “pro-choice,” she says they should have chosen to be the “pro-life” party because they are advocating for better lives for women. (Cawthorne and Schoffstall, 4/11)

And some positive news in the fight for abortion rights —

Daily Beast:
DA Apologizes To Texas Woman For Murder Charge ‘Error’ Over ‘Self-Induced Abortion’

The Texas district attorney who charged Lizelle Herrera with murder after an alleged “self-induced abortion” has apologized and admitted the 26-year-old should never have been charged. According to a report in The Washington Post, Gocha Ramirez, the new district attorney in Starr County, along the Mexico border, phoned Herrera’s lawyer, Calixtro Villarreal, and said she “should never have been charged.” The DA also texted an acquaintance, saying “I’m so sorry. I assure you I never meant to hurt this young lady.” (Sykes, 4/13)

The Texas Tribune:
How Reproductive Rights Groups Sounded The Alarm After A South Texas Woman Was Charged With Murder For An Abortion

Cathy Torres was ready to log off for the weekend and start celebrating her 26th birthday when she got a text message with a link to a local news story: A woman in the Rio Grande Valley had been arrested for a “self-induced abortion.” “I was just completely sick to my stomach,” Torres said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was just panicking.” But not for long. Torres is based in Edinburg and works as the organizing manager for the Frontera Fund, a nonprofit that helps people in the Rio Grande Valley access and pay for abortions. She sent the story to the group’s leadership, as well as other reproductive rights advocacy groups in the area. (Klibanoff, 4/13)

Los Angeles Times:
Some Christians Challenge Meaning Of ‘Pro-Life’ 

Growing up in this small town near the western edge of Michigan, Christy Berghoef learned to live by a simple rule.“To be Christian is to be Republican is to be ‘pro-life,’” she said recently, sitting in a renovated shed-turned-office behind her house on the 40-acre farm of willows and gladiolus where she was raised. “All else makes you a ‘baby killer.’” … Her politics eventually shifted even has her faith stayed firm. She switched her voter registration to Democratic. Her definition of “pro-life” expanded to tightening gun control and protecting the rights of immigrants. She now believes — in what is considered sacrilege in the wood church where she was raised in the Midwest — that abortions should never be outlawed, though she’d rather see fewer of them. (Kaleem, 4/14)


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