The Kentucky General Assembly ended its 2022 regular session last week with a mixed bag of legislation becoming law.
Some was good, some was bad, and some legislation is just there.
The extreme left is mad because the “sky is falling,” the extreme right is declaring victory, and the truth — as is tradition — lies somewhere between the two extremes.
Much of the discourse since the end of the session has been over House Bill 3, which focuses on the state’s laws on abortion and which was vetoed by Gov. Andy Beshear. The governor’s veto was overridden by a majority of the House of Representatives on April 13.
I feel it important to point out that the veto override which upheld the legislation was affirmed by every representative in the Appalachian Newspapers coverage area (Pike, Floyd, Johnson and Perry counties), even the two Democrats currently serving the area.
The measure, according to a statement from Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, which are suing to stop implementation of the emergency measure, “effectively bans abortion care in Kentucky.” It does allow for abortion in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, but does effectively end elective abortions in the state.
This is part of an ongoing effort in numerous states across the nation, which are aimed ultimately at reacting to a potential overturning of Roe v. Wade, which would make abortion a state, not federal decision, or preparing for it.
I’m not opposed to this legislation. I understand the viewpoint of others who would disagree, but I also realize this is an issue where there is no middle ground and it would be difficult to come to a compromise because I and others who are in opposition to elective abortion believe that it wrongly ends a life. Those on the other side don’t believe that a life is involved. We are speaking different languages on the matter.
Despite this, I believe that the legislature is only a half measure. Here’s why: You can ban abortion outright if you want, but if you don’t at the same time put in place systems and laws to support families, you’re just setting up an unsustainable system.
Pro-life doesn’t just refer to opposing abortion. Being pro-life means being willing to support people from womb to tomb. That’s the fullest extension of the morality of the issue.
When you look at the recent history of the United States, you can see a system which has become hostile and oppositional to the family structure. It used to be that a majority of jobs would allow people to support a family with only one parent working.
Now, a much smaller number of jobs allow for a family to be supported with only one parent working, even high-paying jobs. And it’s by design. It’s not that I necessarily believe that the system is trying to break up the family structure, but that the trajectory of society has changed and the family is often an unintended casualty.
An example is a recent study that got press, but not attention. Visit this site for the full story, https://n.pr/3KP7e50.
The basic gist is that, for decades, educational experts have put a premium on early childhood education, leading to heavy spending on Pre-K in public schools. According to the article, preschool advocates in Tennessee conducted a study over more than a decade that included 2,990 children who applied to free public pre-K programs. Some were admitted and some were rejected, and the students’ progress was followed.
Initially, the study found that, at the end of their first year, children who went to pre-K scored higher on school readiness. But, what surprised the researchers was that, after third grade, the students who went to Pre-K were doing worse than the other students, and, by sixth grade, they were doing even worse. “They had lower test scores, were more likely to be in special education, and were more likely to get into trouble in school, including serious trouble like suspensions,” the article said.
The lead researcher said she didn’t want it to be true, but the results are the results.
In some cases, pre-K is a better option for the child, and, for many people who simply don’t have the option to stay home with their child, it’s a necessity. But, again, in the case where pre-K is not optional, that is because our society has made it nearly impossible to avoid for some.
So, if we really want to establish a system which opposes abortion at its core, then it has to be a system which supports families and individuals from birth to death with essentials, such as healthcare and other needs. I’m not talking about socialism. I’m talking about simply ensuring that both the greater economic system and government consider as paramount the right of individuals to have the basics, whether that be through government funding or legislation. It has to be a system which holds men absolutely responsible when they father children. We must have a system that ensures that having both parents working is optional, not necessity, if we truly want to see the restoration of the family.
As I said, I’m glad to see HB 3 become law, in anticipation of the current Supreme Court giving states control of the issue, but I remain disappointed and still have yet to see a legislature act in a holistically pro-life fashion.