Election 2019 Politics

Gov. Matt Bevin held a press conference Friday to remind voters that he opposes abortion and has signed several anti-abortion bills into law.

Standing next to a poster that proclaimed him as “America’s most pro-life governor,” Bevin accused reporters of not reporting on the fact that his opponent, Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, supports abortion rights.

“The sad reality, if we don’t gather people and put this in your face to this degree, you don’t cover it,” Bevin said.

Beshear describes himself as “pro-choice” and says he supports the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that bans states from restricting access to abortion before the point of fetal viability — between the 24th and 26th week of pregnancy.

This year, Beshear said he would not defend a new law that bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected — as early as the sixth week in pregnancy, before many women realize they are pregnant — saying that it is likely unconstitutional.

A federal court has temporarily blocked the law from going into effect while a lawsuit over the legislation takes place.

In 2017, Beshear said he wouldn’t defend Kentucky’s new law banning abortions after the 19th week of pregnancy.

Bevin has rallied around social issues like abortion and immigration amid a tight race for reelection. On Friday he said that he wouldn’t mind if Kentucky didn’t have any abortion providers.

“It wouldn’t bother me one lick if there wasn’t an abortion provider in this state, our state wouldn’t be less well-served by that,” Bevin said.

Bevin dismissed a question that he was underscoring the abortion issue because of a poll by Morning Consult showing him to be the most unpopular governor in the country.

“The popularity is irrelevant,” Bevin said. “The same idiots thought that I was unpopular, the same two guys in some office in Washington were under the impression that we couldn’t win four years ago.”

Beshear campaign spokesperson Sam Newton responded to Bevin’s press conference, saying that the governor was “abusing taxpayer resources to hold a political event on government property.”

“Andy Beshear supports Roe v. Wade, which includes reasonable restrictions, especially on late term procedures. Matt Bevin’s extremist positions go too far even for the president. Bevin supports a total ban that would eliminate all options for victims of rape and incest,” Newton wrote.

Bevin, Republican attorney general candidate Daniel Cameron and Republican State Treasurer Allison Ball were endorsed by anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List during the press conference.

Cameron said he didn’t think attorneys general should weigh in on whether they think laws passed by the legislature are constitutional

“I think the responsibility of the attorney general is to defend and enforce the laws that are passed by the General Assembly because I think that when you take the oath of attorney general, that is the responsibility that you bear,” Cameron said.

Cameron is running against Democrat Greg Stumbo, former speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives who also served as attorney general between 2004 and 2008.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.