Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Analysis: First TV commercial from anti-abortion group has misleading and inaccurate wording, Herald-Leader writer says

Image from TV ad, provided by Yes for Life
The first television spot from the main group supporting the anti-abortion proposal on Kentucky's Nov. 8 ballot "relies on conservative buzzwords and phrases that are aimed at grabbing viewer attention but are ultimately misleading and inaccurate," writes Alex Acquisto of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The 30-second ad by Yes for Life begins, “Radical, out-of-state activists want to spend your tax dollars on late-term abortions, even up to the moment of birth.”

Taxpayer funding of abortion "is already illegal under Kentucky law and regulated by federal law," Acquisto notes. "The Hyde Amendment bars the use of federal aid programs, like Medicaid, to pay for abortion."

As for “late-term abortions,” the term "typically refers to an abortion at roughly 21 weeks of pregnancy," Acquisto writes. "Rarely, and typically only for medically-necessary reasons, are abortions provided later than that. Late-term abortions 'even up to the moment of birth' is largely a misnomer. In Kentucky last year, 26 of the 4,441 total abortions provided — or about 0.6% — were at 21 weeks of pregnancy, according to the state Office of Vital Statistics. There were no other abortions reported at a later stage of pregnancy in 2021. Of the 18,614 total abortions reported in Kentucky since 2017, 13 were at or beyond 22 weeks of pregnancy."

The spot tells viewers that a “yes” vote for Constitutional Amendment No. 2 is a “reasonable, common sense vote.”

The amendment would place in the state constitution a statement saying that the document shall not be construed to "secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion." Its intent is to leave Kentucky abortion law up to the state legislature, and keep state courts from finding in the constitution a right to abortion.

Voters' approval of the amendment would render moot a case the state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Nov.15, a week after the election.

The lawsuit by abortion-rights supporters challenges the "trigger law" that virtually banned abortion in Kentucky when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and another law banning abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy. The immediate question before the court is whether to reinstate an injunction blocking those laws passed by the legislature.

The injunction has been blocked by a Court of Appeals judge. It was issued by Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry on grounds that the lawsuit was likely to succeed, based on sections of the state constitution that guarantee religious freedom and say Kentuckians have “the right of seeking and pursuing their safety and happiness” and “Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.” Kentucky courts have found in those words a limited right to privacy, which was the basis for Roe v. Wade and similar decisions in other states.

In a news story, the Courier Journal's Deborah Yetter calls the spot's claims "questionable" and writes, "The new ad brings a new level of rhetoric from amendment supporters."

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