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Battle at the ballot box | Kentuckians to vote on abortion in November

Constitutional Amendment Two is on the ballot, proposing a change to the state Constitution stating the document does not ensure a right to abortion.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, Kentucky voters are set to decide another issue in the abortion debate. 

Constitutional Amendment 2, which is on the general election ballot Nov. 8, reads: "To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion." 

Kentuckians will be asked to vote yes or no. If the amendment passes, it would officially change the state's guiding document. 

University of Louisville political science professor Dr. Dewey Clayton said this type of vote is uncommon, but not unprecedented. 

"It doesn't happen that often, but it is a tool that is available to the legislature," he said. 

Clayton said if passed it could make enforcing Kentucky's existing trigger law complicated in the event Congress passes legislation codifying abortion rights. 

"This is where it gets complicated and sometimes the federal government has to step in," he said. 

Kentucky outlawed abortion Friday, when the state's 2019 trigger law went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade. 

Clayton said the vote on Amendment 2 is a way anti-abortion advocates are doubling down to keep restrictions on abortion in place. 

"The constitutional amendment would not be appealable but the trigger law would be by state courts," Clayton said. “The governor doesn’t even have the authority to veto that, so you have procedural issues at play here as well.” 

Monday, the ACLU of Kentucky and Planned Parenthood filed a suit seeking to block the law. 

Until November's vote on Amendment Two, dueling campaigns (Yes for Life, supported by Kentucky Right to Life, and Protect Kentucky Access, supported by the ACLU) will be making their cases to the voters. 

"It's not just running in a district, we have one statewide candidate and that's this constitutional amendment, so it's the ground game," Addia Wuchner, Executive Director of Kentucky Right to Life, said. 

Wuchner called June 24 "monumental."

“Voting no, that will help restore abortion rights in Kentucky more than any other thing you can do," Jackie McGranahan, policy strategist with the ACLU of Kentucky, said. 

McGranahan said the ruling will have "consequences."

Clayton expects the passion seen across the country and state since the Supreme Court's ruling will draw big crowds to the ballot box in November. 

"It's going to mobilize, it's going to energize and it's going to be very hard to know what's going to happen," Clayton said. 

Kentucky's general election is set for Nov. 8, 2022.

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