Reported by Jessica Burbank
Kentucky could be the second red state to reject an abortion ban in November. In a county Trump won by 25 points, the vast majority of voters oppose a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Jessica Burbank spoke with voters in Henderson County, Kentucky, to understand why. Below is a full transcript of the video.
Olivia: I feel like women should be able to do whatever the fuck they want to do with their body.
Anna: I would not feel comfortable getting one, but I am not at liberty to make that decision for anyone else.
Jessica: We’re here in Henderson, Kentucky, talking to voters who will decide whether or not people have a legal right to abortion.
[News clip]: Kentucky Constitution Amendment 2.
[News clip]: With Kentucky’s trigger law already facing a legal fight, this battle at the ballot box raises the stakes.
Jessica: There’s a 12 point advantage for Donald Trump here in this county and 28 percent support of Joe Biden. Despite that, there is polling that shows that people in Henderson do not support an abortion ban, 57 to 24.
What’s interesting is most people see this issue as much more complicated than it’s been framed by the coalition who support this amendment.
Many people see this as something that is fundamentally a woman’s right. Other people are happy that this issue is being pushed back onto the voters. And some people understand that there are some cases where abortion is medically necessary.
Why this Trump county opposes abortion.
Jessica: So I’m holding a sample ballot for the November 8th election here in Kentucky, and Constitutional Amendment 2 says:
[News clip]: “To protect human life, nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
[News clip]: This amendment is important for two reasons. One, it would ensure a lawsuit challenging Kentucky’s abortion ban on constitutional grounds fails. And two, it would make it much, much harder for future lawmakers to overturn the ban.
Kentucky’s maternal mortality rate is the highest in the country.
48.3% of Kentucky counties lack access to maternity care.
Kaylee: Growing up here, I had a lot of traditional views whenever I was growing up. It’s just a small town, you know? So you have a lot of traditional values here.
Jean: People have different opinions on everything, and I really wish we did have more, just open, conversations.
Jessica: We’ve been talking to people all day, and many people are seeing this as a more nuanced issue than just a divide between whether or not you’re pro-life, or pro-choice.
Carol: So I’m kind of in between a rock and a hard place. I don’t believe in killing an unwanted child, but I’m not going to stop you from doing what you have to do. I do believe that women have a right to their own body.
Kenny: I still believe that God put us all here for a reason, and life is precious. If there’s certain things that happen in your life that you can’t control — incest, rape, things like that — but it’s still a person’s life that has to deal with that every day, too, and they may not want to.
Kaylee: Speaking from a mom here, you know, of course, I support having babies, but I also support the women that might not be in a financial state to do so.
Charlotte: Put yourself in a woman’s shoes. How would you feel if someone was telling you what you can do with your own body?
Anna: It’s mostly men making this decision for women.
Olivia: There’s a whole lot of men in power that have something to say about what women should do with their body. And that pisses me off.
Jessica: The polling data we see, 57 to 24 here in Henderson County, is really reflected with people’s views out here on the ground. We’ve talked to about 40 to 50 people who completely are against an abortion ban in this sense. We’ve only met about four people who support the amendment to the Constitution.
Jean: I will be voting “Yes” for Amendment 2. Because I feel like all life is sacred, and we should protect life from conception until natural death.
Carol: So you have Christians that don’t believe in abortion, but I do think you have Christians that feel like I do. You don’t know a person’s circumstance. There are some more important things that should be a concern. Feeding the poor, increasing Medicaid, Medicare.
Olivia: And then this is what we choose to focus on. This is like the big topic? Whether or not women can choose to not be pregnant?
Kaylee: I have seen women marching and taking a stand downtown. I’m really excited and happy that I’m seeing people do so here in my hometown.
Carol: What would I vote? I would vote no. I don’t want it to be a part of the Constitution. I don’t think you have the right to dictate a person’s life. What else will it lead to?
Kenny: Being voted in is the best way to go. Whatever the majority of the people have to say about it should definitely be the way the law goes with it.
Voters in deep red kansas rejected an abortion ban this year.
Kentucky could be the next red state to reject an abortion ban in November.