Gov. Matt Bevin is calling out state Attorney General Andy Beshear for refusing to defend Kentucky’s new law that prohibits abortions past the fifth month of pregnancy.
Bevin says in a statement posted on Facebook:
Attorney General Andy Beshear is once again refusing to do his job. Even though he is obligated by law to do so, AG Beshear refuses to defend the 20-week abortion ban, a bill that won the support of nearly 80 percent of the General Assembly, including 21 Democrats. AG Beshear would rather pander to his liberal, pro-abortion base than defend the law of Kentucky. I will, therefore, continue doing it for him by defending these pro-life bills. The citizens of Kentucky demand and deserve no less.
“Our attorney general apparently is under the impression that he gets to pick and choose when he does his job,” Bevin says in an accompanying video on Facebook. “He was elected and, in fact, is being paid by you, the taxpayers of Kentucky, and the voters of Kentucky to defend the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
“You should be outraged,” the Republican governor tells Kentucky citizens. “You should be offended.”
Beshear, a Democrat and the son of the previous Kentucky governor, said in a statement:
As attorney general, it is my duty to enforce the Constitution. It is also my duty to defend laws where the constitutionality is questionable and finality is needed. Adhering to these duties is why, after close review, my office will defend the agencies sued over House Bill 2 that seek our representation. Whether a mandatory ultrasound and explanation is constitutional has split the two federal appellate circuits that have directly addressed it. The Sixth Circuit that includes Kentucky, has not rendered a decision. I will advise that this matter has risks and potential costs, which resulted in over $1 million in legal fees to North Carolina, which lost its defense. Conversely, my office will not represent the state on any challenge to Senate Bill 5, the 20-week ban. This law is clearly unconstitutional based on our review of numerous federal appellate rulings, which state that identical statutes in other jurisdictions are illegal under numerous Supreme Court decisions. While these decisions may not please advocates on either side, my duty is to the law.
As the new legislative session began, Bevin signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act, which requires the abortion provider to perform an ultrasound prior to the procedure and allow the mother to view it if she chooses. The law also requires the abortion provider to provide a description of the baby to the mother, and to offer her an opportunity to hear the baby’s heartbeat.
Planned Parenthood, and its president Cecile Richards, condemned Bevin’s move to sign the bills into law: [2 TWEETS]
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) January 12, 2017
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) January 9, 2017
Kentucky is the 16th state to enact a law banning abortions past the fifth month of pregnancy.