The writing is on the wall.
The U.S. Supreme Court has taken a conservative turn with President Trump's appointments of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case -- which legalized abortion nationwide -- is on shaky ground.
And the Kentucky General Assembly is preparing accordingly.
The state House last week overwhelmingly passed a bill to ban most abortions in Kentucky if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.The chamber's 69-20 vote followed an hour-long debate and sent the measure to the GOP-led Senate. The legislation would take effect if the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is reversed or the U.S. Constitution is amended to restore states' authority to prohibit abortion.
Another bill being considered in this year's session would ban most abortions in Kentucky once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is around six weeks of pregnancy. That bill was overwhelmingly passed by the Senate on Thursday, sending it to the House.
The Commonwealth Journal wholeheartedly supports our Kentucky legislators in their aggressive approach to limiting abortion to instances where the mother's medical health is in jeopardy.
And it certainly makes sense for Kentucky to be prepared for the increased likelihood that Roe v. Wade will eventually go by the wayside.
We agree with Republican Rep. Jason Nemes when he said it would be "irresponsible" for lawmakers not to have an abortion law ready to be triggered if the 1973 case is overturned. A Supreme Court decision would likely come when Kentucky's legislature isn't in session, he said. Without a state law ready to take effect, it would leave access to abortions "wide open" in Kentucky, he said.
"So until we can get back together, the law on abortions in Kentucky will be the Wild West if we don't pass this bill," Nemes said.
The Kentucky proposal would ban abortions statewide, except when the procedure is necessary to save the mother's life, if Roe v. Wade is reversed.
It would provide full legal protection for the unborn from fertilization to birth, said Republican Rep. Joe Fischer, the bill's lead sponsor.
The bill proposes making it a felony to perform an abortion, punishable by one to five years in prison. Pregnant women undergoing abortions would be exempt from prosecution. There would be no violation if medical treatment resulted in the unintentional death of a fetus. There also would be no violation for prescribing the "morning after" pill, Fischer said.
All of this makes perfect sense to us. Human life should be held in the highest regard -- and the life of an unborn child must be protected.
THE COMMONWEALTH JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD consists of Michael McCleery, General Manager; Jeff Neal, Editor; Steve Cornelius, Sports Editor; Bill Mardis, Editor Emeritus; Mark Walker, Circulation Director; Mary Ann Flynn, Advertising; and Chris Harris, Staff Writer.