CCK Statement on Veto of Senate Bill 929 Apr

Following the numerous pro-life legislative successes in Kentucky over the past five sessions, we are deeply troubled by the failure this year of Senate Bill 9, the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. This bill would have ensured that children who survive a failed abortion receive the same medical care as any other child who is born alive. Such a requirement should not be controversial.

SB 9 was introduced in the Senate on January 13, and passed on January 27 by a vote of 32-0. Even members who do not typically vote in favor of legal protection for unborn children supported it, rightly acknowledging that the language of the bill was not about abortion but was a legitimate effort to protect children who are alive and outside the womb.

The House Judiciary Committee reported the bill favorably on March 11 and on March 12 SB 9 received a second reading, thereby enabling its passage by the full House on any subsequent day of session. While the number of legislative days were understandably shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic, after March 12 there were several days on which the bill could have been passed before the traditional “veto break,” which allows for veto overrides before final adjournment. Instead, the bill received no floor action until the very last day of session, April 15.

On Friday, April 24, Governor Beshear vetoed this bipartisan legislation. Incredibly, his veto message claimed both that the bill duplicated current law, and was therefore unnecessary, but also that it would likely be held unconstitutional by the courts. If he has an alternate proposal that would ensure all born-alive children receive the medical care to which they have a right and which he believes would be more likely to withstand constitutional scrutiny, we stand ready to work with him toward that end. But, to simply obstruct an effort to guarantee basic medical care to the most vulnerable among us is not acceptable.

Legislative leaders have responded to the veto by promising to pass this legislation again early next session, ensuring there is enough time to override another veto. We applaud this commitment and pledge our full support to that effort.

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