Amendment 2 came down to rural vs. urban divide

Published 8:14 am Friday, November 11, 2022

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Kentucky Today

Kentucky voters rejected Constitutional Amendment 2 on Nov. 8. The pro-life measure failed by a margin of 4.8 percentage points.

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The amendment would have added a section to the Kentucky constitution stating: “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.”

With 98.95% of estimated votes counted on Thursday afternoon, 740,705 Kentuckians voted “no” and 672,602 Kentuckians voted “yes.” The vote stood at 52.4% in opposition and 47.6% in favor.

Twenty-two of Kentucky’s 120 counties produced majority “no” votes, including strongholds Fayette (73.2%) and Jefferson (71.3%). Combined, both counties yielded 264,903 “no” votes. Kenton (54.7%), Warren (55.3%), and Hardin (51.4%) rounded out the top 5 counties opposing the amendment by total number of votes, followed closely by Madison (51.8%) and Oldham (57.7%).

While urban areas turned out in strong numbers expressing opposition to the measure, many rural counties were split in their support of the amendment.

Fifty-one counties yielded “yes” votes exceeding 60% of the total vote. The top counties by percentage of “yes” votes included Jackson (82.5%), Clinton (74.9%), Green (73.6%), Harlan (73.5%) and McCreary (72.8%).

In the remaining 46 counties, favor of the amendment existed in far slimmer majorities. No information was available for Martin County.

Locally, 63.7% of voters in Lincoln County supported Amendment 2 (4,574 yes, 2,612 no).

The narrowest victory came in Bullitt County, which split 50%-50%—8 votes flipped the county favorable to the amendment. Bath County was a close second; 50.2% voted “yes.” Boyd (50.6%), Boone (51.1%) and Trimble (51.5%) followed with the slimmest margins of support.

The midterms revealed deep divisions in how Kentuckians view the issue of abortion. Those differences will be on display come Nov.15 when the Kentucky  Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case challenging the state’s abortion trigger ban.

Kentucky’s two Louisville-based abortion clinics, EMW Women’s Surgical Center and Planned Parenthood, are seeking a right to abortion in the state’s constitutional provisions for privacy and self-determination. The ACLU of Kentucky, which represents the clinics, tweeted Tuesday that they are also “seeking a temporary injunction that would restore access as our case plays out in court.”

Attorney General Daniel Cameron, whose office is arguing in support of the trigger law, maintains the rejection of Amendment 2 has no practical impact on the right to abortion in the state, and filed a motion on Wednesday urging the court to “interpret our Constitution based on its original meaning.”

Watch the oral arguments live at 10 a.m. EDT on Nov. 15 at