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Governor Andy Beshear Vetoes Born Alive Act

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Senate Bill 9 was sent to the Governor on the last day of the legislative session for him to either sign into law or veto. The Governor also had the option of not signing the bill and waiting 10 days and it becoming law. In a nut shell the bill would ban allowing babies to die that where born alive. This is a new and creative way the pro-abortion crowd has come up with allowing a mother another avenue to deny her child life after the point an abortion could be performed, yet still providing the same outcome.

Below is a portion of the bill summary:

prohibit a person from denying or depriving a born-alive infant of nourishment with the intent to cause or allow the death of the infant; prohibit a person from denying or depriving a born-alive infant of medically appropriate and reasonable medical care, medical treatment, or surgical care; require a physician performing an abortion to take all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of a born-alive infant; specify that if the physician is unable to perform those duties then an attending physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, nurse, or other healthcare worker shall assume the duties; provide that a born-alive infant shall be treated as a legal person under the laws of the Commonwealth; specify that any born-alive infant, whose parents file a petition for voluntary termination of parental rights, shall become a ward of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services; prohibit any person from performing scientific research on a born-alive infant; specify that this section shall not be construed as preventing a born-alive infant's parent or guardian from refusing medical care that is not medically appropriate or reasonable; specify that the parent or guardian of a born-alive infant shall not be held criminally or civilly liable for the actions of a physician, physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, or other healthcare provider that acted without his or her consent;

Senate Bill 9 was filed on January 13th, and passed the Senate on January 27th, and was posted in the House Judiciary Committee on January 31st. Generally this means the bill is on the fast track when a bill from the other chamber has been posted in another chamber's committee so quickly. Bills from another chamber don't begin to have progress until some time after the new bill filing date, which this year was a little later than normal, the first few days of March. This usually leaves a couple of weeks before Veto Days to pass the other chambers bills.

What makes this case unusual is it was posted in committee and no action was taken for a month and a half. But even when it was heard it was passed the committee and had its second reading in 2 days and scheduled for passage the following week on March 17th, which did not happen.

Now we understand this is extraordinary times, with COVID-19, a shortened session and trying to create a budget with a lot of unknowns, but the legislature did find time to pass other bills before the Veto Days. Somehow this one slipped through the cracks in a Republican controlled legislature after having a leg up in the legislative process compared to most bills? This bill could have been passed before the Veto Days and if the Governor had vetoed it they could have easily overridden his veto with Republican super majorities in both chambers.

So what happened? Well we hate to be cynical, but looks like politics. You see this bill had some floor amendments placed on it, floor amendments we don't entirely disagree with. With Governor Beshear shutting down churches, and other medical practices, but keeping abortion clinics open, people were left wondering about the obvious disconnect in his decisions. So they inserted language giving the Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) the ability to stop abortion clinics from performing abortions during time of emergency like the one enacted by the Governor. So at least it was germane, even though it is political, because what if the AG had been a democrat, what would they have done? They needed to make an adjustment to the emergency powers for it to actually be correct and not have this happen in the future. See the language below.

Amend KRS 15.241 to allow the Attorney General to seek injunctive relief as well as civil and criminal penalties to prevent, penalize, and remedy violations of KRS Chapter 216B relating to abortion facilities and KRS 311.710 to 311.830 relating to abortions, and add violations of emergency management orders relating to elective medical procedures issued under KRS Chapter 39A to the types of actions for which the Attorney General may seek injunctive relief as well as civil and criminal penalties; specify that nothing in this section shall limit or preclude the secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services from seeking similar relief; provide for severability.

So SB 9 the Born Alive Act and the floor amendment granting the AG more power in this situation has been vetoed by the governor today, April 24th. Now there is no way the legislature can undo that decision, whereas before they could have, if they passed it before the Veto Days, they could have overturned his veto. So guess what, Republicans get to campaign against a pro-abortion Beshear, which did put Beshear on record about abortion, so we got that out of this at least, but we could have easily gotten that if they had passed the bill as normal. Also it now gives him an out where he can focus more on the challenge to his authority in emergency situations than on the abortion aspect. So some republicans (not all, in fact probably not most) thought it was better to play politics with the governor, help themselves win re-election, all the while more babies are at peril of dying and they didn't stop the governor's nonsensical decisions either. How else are they going to convince people more republicans need to be in office, as they set up a scenario they knew was destined to fail. All they can say now is "we tried."

This bill should have passed as normal, without politics, and even if they wanted to pass it with politics in it, they could have done it on April 1st not April 14th, allowing them the ability to overturn his veto, guessed they fooled us.

UPDATE: We found the Veto and started this post before he had made public comment and the news reported it. Beshear's main logic for vetoing it is he doesn't want to deal with controversial or divisive issues at this time, and also claims that we currently have laws against this. So somehow its controversial yet we already have laws against it. So why veto it? Maybe it was the increased power to the AG who is in the opposing party right now. Again we think a better amendment would have been to the emergency powers KRS 39A, not giving power to the AG just because he happens to be a Republican for the moment, which was a weak and late response to the Governor's actions, or in this case inaction.

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