Abortion restrictions ignite Kentucky race for Governor

An Andy Beshear campaign ad suddenly makes abortion a political hot potato for Republicans.
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 4:43 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - An Andy Beshear campaign ad suddenly makes abortion a political hot potato for Republicans.

An Owensboro woman, impregnated as a child, is seen in the ad criticizing Kentucky’s abortion ban in cases of rape or incest.

She also criticizes Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s support for that law.

”I’m speaking out because women and girls need to have options,” the woman identified as Hadley said in the ad. “Daniel Cameron would give us none.”

Cameron responded bitterly to the Beshear ad.

”Andy Beshear is running the most despicable campaign in Kentucky history,” Cameron said in a video posted on YouTube.

However, political observers say the damage was done by Kentucky’s Republican dominated legislature.

”Now that Roe v Wade is gone, now that abortion has been sharply restricted, Republicans are suffering the cost of success,” University of Kentucky Political Science Associate Professor Steven Voss said. “Their usually highly mobilized, pro-life vote is content. It’s not mobilized. And the regulations that kicked in in Kentucky are so stringent, that not only are more liberal or democratic voters motivated, mobilized, but the kind of money middle on abortion, now it’s tilting more in a democratic direction.”

Unlike Democrats before him, a state abortion ban that includes cases of rape and incest, gives Governor Beshear an opening to Republicans who are uncomfortable with the restrictions. Cameron, who earlier gave his 100% support to Kentucky Right To Life, has moderated his position.

”If the legislature were to bring me a bill with exceptions, I would sign it,” Cameron said.

”In other words when you’re talking about having an abortion ban without exceptions for rape or incest, that’s awfully, awfully extreme,” UofL Political Science Professor Dewey Clayton said. “Rape and incest are things someone doesn’t voluntarily do.”