Commonwealth Policy Center

Does Kentucky’s Constitution contain a right to abortion? According to the plain text of the Constitution, the answer is no. However, the ACLU, EMW Women’s Clinic, and Planned Parenthood argued before the State Supreme Court that there is a right to abortion under the Kentucky Constitution. Justice Lisbeth Hughes questioned the legitimacy of the constitution because women didn’t have the right to vote, and “weren’t considered” when the constitution was written. “So I have some questions about the necessity of grounding our decision in 2022 in what occurred in 1890,” she said. Kentucky Solicitor General Matt Kuhn defended Kentucky’s abortion restrictions and said the vote against Amendment #2 “didn’t change the language of the constitution. The court has got to have historical evidence that there is constitutional basis.” Kuhn argued the state constitution is neutral on the issue of abortion. “It is not pro-choice or pro-life, so the question must be left to the General Assembly. That Kentuckian who wants abortion rights should pick up the phone and call their assembly member.”