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Governor and Attorney General escalate feud over HB2

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is refusing to defend House Bill 2, a 20-week abortion ban which includes a mandatory ultrasound procedure, that was signed into law by Governor Bevin over the weekend.

Citing recent case law and legal fees accrued by North Carolina, which lost its defense of a similar bill, Beshear advised in a press release yesterday that the bill was likely to be found unconstitutional, and said his office will not represent the state on challenges to the new law.

In a reply, Governor Matt Bevin cited lawmaker support for the bill, accused Beshear of "pander[ing] to his liberal, pro-abortion base," and vowed to defend the pro-life bill himself.

Beshear's statement:
"As attorney general, it is my duty to enforce the Constitution. It is also my duty to defend laws where the constitutionality is questionable and finality is needed. Adhering to these duties is why, after close review, my office will defend the agencies sued over House Bill 2 that seek our representation. Whether a mandatory ultrasound and explanation is constitutional has split the two federal appellate circuits that have directly addressed it. The Sixth Circuit that includes Kentucky, has not rendered a decision. I will advise that this matter has risks and potential costs, which resulted in over $1 million in legal fees to North Carolina, which lost its defense. Conversely, my office will not represent the state on any challenge to Senate Bill 5, the 20-week ban. This law is clearly unconstitutional based on our review of numerous federal appellate rulings, which state that identical statutes in other jurisdictions are illegal under numerous Supreme Court decisions. While these decisions may not please advocates on either side, my duty is to the law." - Attorney General Andy Beshear.

Governor Bevin's reply:
"Attorney General Andy Beshear is once again refusing to do his job. Even though he is obligated by law to do so, AG Beshear refuses to defend the 20-week abortion ban, a bill that won the support of nearly 80 percent of the General Assembly, including 21 Democrats. AG Beshear would rather pander to his liberal, pro-abortion base than defend the law of Kentucky. I will, therefore, continue doing it for him by defending these pro-life bills. The citizens of Kentucky demand and deserve no less." - Governor Matt Bevin

This story was posted on 2017-01-11 09:48:45
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