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Kentucky Republicans lift Governor Besher’s veto on abortion restrictions

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Republican-led Kentucky Legislature lifted Democratic Gov. Andy Bechair’s veto Wednesday night and passed strict restrictions on abortion, which advocates say will force the state’s two clinics to stop abortions immediately.

The new law, one of the most restrictive in the nation, imposes restrictions on medical abortion, requires cremation or burial of fetal remains, and prohibits abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. An exception is allowed if the woman’s life is in danger, but there is no exception for rape or incest.

The 15-week ban is modeled on the Mississippi law currently being considered by the Supreme Court, in a case that may overturn or revoke Rowe vs. Wade, the remarkable 1973 decision guaranteeing the right to abortion throughout the country. Last December, a majority of the conservative Supreme Court signaled that it was likely to restrict access to abortion.

Besher vetoed the bill on Friday, citing a lack of exceptions for rape and incest.

“Rape and incest are violent crimes,” he said. “Victims of these crimes must have opportunities, not be further marked by a process that exposes them to more harm than their rapists or treats them as the perpetrators themselves.

Late Wednesday, the Kentucky House voted 76-21 and the Senate voted 31-6 to lift the veto.

As states across the country rush to adopt anti-abortion restrictions ahead of a Supreme Court ruling expected this summer, abortion advocates say Kentucky will be the first state to be forced to suspend all abortion procedures. The law enters into force immediately.

The Kentucky Planned Parenthood Clinic said Thursday that it does not perform abortions.

In recent weeks, Planned Parenthood patients calling to plan abortions in Kentucky have been told the law is likely to be passed, and many are targeting abortion clinics in neighboring Indiana, according to Nicole Irwin, communications manager for the Planned affiliate. Parenthood in Kentucky.

Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Kentucky Sen. Stephen Meredith (right) called abortion a “stain on our country” and “our greatest sin.”

“If a mother can kill her own child, what prevents us from killing ourselves and each other?” He said.

Democratic lawmakers have spoken out against the law, urging their Republican counterparts to reconsider.

“It takes an incredible amount of audacity to assume that you know you can make that decision for every woman and child in this state,” said Senator Karen Berg (D). “I beg my colleagues to think about what they are doing.”

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union have announced lawsuits to challenge the law as soon as the legislature votes to lift the governor’s veto. Abortion advocacy groups say the law is unconstitutional deer.

The list of restrictions is too many barriers for clinics to continue providing care in the short term, said Alessia Fields, an abortion provider at Planned Parenthood in Louisville. Among the most difficult restrictions to comply with is the new rule on fetal remains, she said. The law requires abortion clinics to work with funeral homes to bury or cremate the remains of any abortion pregnancy.

To comply with the law, Fields said, the clinic will likely be forced to hire more people who can help facilitate a complex and medically unnecessary burial process for each abortion performed.

“You also need to find funeral homes that are ready to work with Planned Parenthood in Kentucky,” Fields said. Any funeral home that agrees to help will inevitably open for community response, she added.

Even if the lawsuits fail and the law remains in force, Fields said she is confident Kentucky clinics will be able to find a way to continue providing abortions.

“I think maybe I hate to say that because I don’t want to [Republican lawmakers] to think that they can do more to restrict access, but I think that in the end there is still a way to take care of all these restrictions. “

She’s just not sure how long it will take, Fields said.