© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Americans debated abortion rights and on Tuesday voters registered their opinion


The morning after the Supreme Court ruled on abortion rights this year, our colleague Leila Fadel was in Kentucky. She tried the door of a clinic that performs abortions in Louisville, and the door was already locked. Americans have debated abortion ever since, and yesterday, voters in many states spoke. They upheld abortion rights in California and Vermont and Michigan. The Associated Press has yet to call the results, however, in some other states, including Montana and also Kentucky, where that clinic was. We're joined now by Kentucky Public Radio's Divya Karthikeyan to discuss the ballot measure.

Good morning.

DIVYA KARTHIKEYAN, BYLINE: Good morning. Thank you for having me.

INSKEEP: Granting that we don't have the results yet, what were Kentuckians voting on?

KARTHIKEYAN: Yes. So this is a simple amendment on the ballot. Amendment 2 would be adding the following language to the state constitution. It is, to protect human life, nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion. So voting yes on this would basically say that there is no right to an abortion under a state law. Voting no may not - voting no means not introducing language that says there's no right to an abortion. So that is the main language on the ballot.

INSKEEP: Well, this is very interesting. I know from past reporting in Kentucky - obviously it's a red state, it's a very red state - it is a state where, according to surveys, most people oppose abortion rights, which, of course, is different than the country as a whole, where a majority of people say that they oppose abortion rights at some point. Is it surprising to you that the result has not yet been decisive?

KARTHIKEYAN: It is. You know, at this point, since initial results are basically showing that Kentucky voters are rejecting this ballot initiative, I would say it's still too soon to call, and we don't know yet. It seems like the no vote is projected to win, and the amendment will be defeated. Whether it comes as a surprise, you know - it's a complicated issue, not a black-and-white, yes-or-no issue as well.

People have conflicting ideas about abortion. They do support, you know, exceptions with regard to rape and incest. And so that's gotten a lot of people, you know, on the fence about this because the amendment does not mention anything about exceptions.

INSKEEP: Do you learn anything from the vote that is so far in, for example, an urban-rural divide?

KARTHIKEYAN: Of course. Yeah. So most - you know, a sizable lead has come in from Louisville and Lexington, which are the major urban areas and cities in Kentucky. Meanwhile, rural counties have mostly voted on the yes side, which, you know, does not secure the right to an abortion or funding of an abortion. And so we have 10 counties that are still yet to come in. The votes are still yet to come in from there. But that's going to be a real deciding factor here. But at the moment, it looks like, you know, urban areas have really overwhelmingly spoken to the no side of the vote.

INSKEEP: If this measure is rejected, does that mean abortion is legal in Kentucky?

KARTHIKEYAN: You know, definitely - if the amendment fails, it definitely makes the case stronger on the abortion rights side in one way 'cause for lawsuits that come in to litigate the (inaudible) an abortion. We have a (inaudible). The six-week (inaudible). The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments next week over one of the challenges. So we're expecting to know pretty soon where this stands in the state - definitely makes that case stronger on the abortion rights side.

INSKEEP: OK. A little bit hard to hear on the cellphone there, but we'll just say for those who couldn't quite follow, this is going to be litigated further in the courts.

Divya Karthikeyan of Kentucky Public Radio. Thanks so much.

KARTHIKEYAN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.