One has to won­der why it is that some states (includ­ing Kentucky) seem to be con­stant­ly striv­ing to descend to the bot­tom of the lad­der in so many aspects, choos­ing to place them­selves amongst the most back­ward-look­ing and ret­ro­grade soci­eties around the world.

Case in point is the cur­rent rush to restrict abor­tion access to mil­lions of women at the same time that oth­er mil­lions around the world are fac­ing severe pun­ish­ment for try­ing to exer­cise what should be con­sid­ered a basic human right, that of con­trol over one’s own body.

Right now, there are 24 coun­tries that have total bans on abor­tion, regard­less of the cause.  In many of these coun­tries, women are rou­tine­ly impris­oned for vio­lat­ing this law.  Some of those 24 include the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras.  Is it any won­der that so many refugees from these Central American coun­tries are con­sis­tent­ly knock­ing at the gate on the south­ern bor­der of the United States — despite the fact that they may well be enter­ing a state where the restric­tions are as severe as in their own country?

Another 50 coun­tries allow abor­tions only if the risk to the woman’s life is in question.

Seventy-two coun­tries allow abor­tion sub­ject only to ges­ta­tion­al limits.

And recent events in this coun­try illus­trate the supreme dan­gers inher­ent in strict abor­tion lim­its, includ­ing the 10-year-old girl who was raped and forced to go to an adja­cent state to seek an abor­tion. And the woman in Texas who was forced to car­ry a dead fetus for two weeks because doc­tors feared pros­e­cu­tion under the strict Texas law for­bid­ding abortion.

If one looks at a world map show­ing coun­tries with vary­ing degrees of restric­tions on abor­tion access, it becomes imme­di­ate­ly appar­ent that the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of such coun­tries lie in South America and Africa, the very areas where pover­ty, dic­ta­to­r­i­al (male-dom­i­nat­ed) gov­ern­ment, and illit­er­a­cy abound.

Is this a group­ing with which Kentucky and America real­ly wish to be associated?

And while so many states in America rush to restrict the rights of women, some coun­tries which pre­vi­ous­ly upheld severe­ly strict abor­tion restric­tions are now revers­ing course — coun­tries like Mexico and Ireland.  Ireland reversed its posi­tion when a woman was forced to car­ry a non-viable fetus until she devel­oped sep­ticemia and died.

In Kentucky, where its trig­ger law is being played out in court, a Jefferson County judge has placed a hold on the imple­men­ta­tion of the law. The judge held that, in part, the law may vio­late pro­vi­sions of the Kentucky Constitution regard­ing pri­va­cy rights and — even more specif­i­cal­ly — that it dis­crim­i­nates against a spe­cif­ic class of indi­vid­u­als (women) because the law sin­gles them out as the sole per­sons who are bur­dened by the law.

As this was being writ­ten, anoth­er Kentucky judge ruled that the Kentucky law could go into effect, result­ing in the clo­sure of the only remain­ing abor­tion facil­i­ty in the state.  It appears that the Kentucky law will lack set­tle­ment until the state supreme court rules on it.

This November, Kentuckians will be asked to vote on a Constitutional Amendment that will total­ly and com­plete­ly remove women from pro­tec­tions with­in that doc­u­ment by ask­ing if the vot­ers wish to approve a change that specif­i­cal­ly deletes all pro­tec­tions for abor­tion rights from the state constitution.

It is vital that vot­ers acquaint them­selves with the pro­posed amend­ment and not con­clude that it does exact­ly the oppo­site of what it states, i.e. that it pro­tects wom­en’s rights.  It does not!

Even if your per­son­al rights are not affect­ed by this pro­posed amend­ment, vote like it does. Because if it is so easy to remove rights from women, it may even­tu­al­ly become equal­ly easy to remove them from you.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.