'Hopeful' and 'horrified': Leaked Roe opinion leaves Kentucky lawmakers stunned
A leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court signaling the court may be prepared to overturn Roe vs. Wade has sent shockwaves through the country — including Kentucky, where state laws would make the commonwealth among the first to be affected if the ruling is handed down.
Should the leaked draft opinion become law, Gov. Andy Beshear warns it would result in a total statewide ban. That's due to what's known as a trigger law signed in 2019, Planned Parenthood's Tamara Weider explained on Spectrum News.
"If Roe is changed in whole or in part, that would become the law of the land in Kentucky immediately — immediately. So pending any decision coming out of the Supreme Court, we will have an immediate and lasting impact unless policy is reversed on the state level."Planned Parenthood Kentucky State Director Tamarra Wieder
And that's the opposite of what GOP leaders have in mind.
At a Commerce Lexington gathering Tuesday, Republican Sen. Donald Douglas said the legislature, which has already enacted some of the strictest abortion laws on the books, is prepared to continue down that path.
"If this truly is true, I want you to know that the Kentucky General Assembly is ready. We're ready to meet and create some of the toughest laws that there are."Sen. Donald Douglas (R)
While an end to Roe is a possibility both abortion rights advocates and opponents have been seen on the horizon with the shift toward a more conservative high court, the leaked draft has jolted lawmakers on both sides of the aisle — for different reasons.
Sen. Mitch McConnell has blasted the leak as "an attack on the independence of the Supreme Court" that should be investigated and punished.
"By every indication, this was yet another escalation in the radical left’s ongoing campaign to bully and intimidate federal judges and substitute mob rule for the rule of law," the senator said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Kentucky Democrats are lamenting what the ruling could mean for the state. Top Senate Democrat Morgan McGarvey tweeted, "We've been bracing for this, but to see in writing the end of a woman's right to choose — in America — is truly horrifying and appalling."
The chamber's leading Republican, Sen. Damon Thayer, described his mood as "hopeful."