By Senator Adrienne Southworth Guest columnist
October 26, 2022
I wrote earlier this year about the Dobbs decision calling Roe v. Wade a garbage legal theory. Since announcing the details of why I supported putting Amendment 2 on the ballot, I have been asked a multitude of questions about points of confusion. Amendment 2 is the shorter of the two on the ballot this year. I have previously written at length explaining my position against Amendment 1.
Amendment 2 is a legal question framed for the courts, which may have created the confusion among general readers expecting English not legalese. The question is asking, do you want to keep the Kentucky status quo (vote yes) or allow Roe v. Wade rights into Kentucky (vote no)?
The courts operate like a football game. In a replay review of a borderline touchdown, the initial ruling on the field stands as the final ruling unless there is convincing evidence to overturn the call on the field. Everyone is familiar with cases where if the ruling on the field had been the opposite, the evidence could have weighed in the other direction. Where the baseline is set sometimes determines the final fate.
Amendment 2 confirms the baseline in Kentucky is what it has always been: Abortion is not the rule, but only an exception. What we commonly know as Roe v. Wade asserts that abortion is the default rule, so no exceptions are necessary or even possible. If you believe that abortions should or could be limited, you support Amendment 2. If you believe that abortion should be a wide-open Constitutional right, you oppose Amendment 2.
In my general observation, perhaps 20% of people believe in the farthest extreme of default abortions. Polling in the past has suggested 60% of people oppose abortion. At least 20% if not more are likely in the middle where they want to have some level of control or limits on abortions.
After the Dobbs ruling earlier this year, a court in Kentucky ruled that there should be no limit, but a return to the Roe v. Wade era where abortion is a fundamental right (default). The Court of Appeals reversed that ruling temporarily, and we currently await the Supreme Court hearing which is on hold until after the Amendment 2 election.
I started out with what may seem like a strong statement about the Roe v. Wade court decision. Even though I voted for and supported Amendment 2, that was not a quote originally from me. My law professor last spring taught us all of this just months before the Dobbs ruling came out. He would likely not identify with me from a political perspective. But the integrity of a case depends on the soundness of its precedent and coordination of its wording to be used again and again for future generations. My teacher bluntly pointed out that Roe v. Wade was not in his curriculum because it was sure to be overturned for its lack of legal quality and accuracy. Here we are.
State Senator Adrienne Southworth
Kentucky State Senator
502-564-8100 ext. 51684